Bridges

Bridges Summer 2013

Bridges is a quarterly review of regional community and economic development issues, projects and regulatory changes for practitioners from community-based organizations, as well as for Community Reinvestment Act officers, academics and government of

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Linking Lenders And Communities SUMMER 2013 P U BL I S H E D Q UA RT E R LY BY T H E C O M MU N I T Y De v elopment Bridges DE PA RTM E N T OF T H E F E D E R A L R E S E RV E B A N K O F S T. L O U I S INDEX 2 Creative Placemaking: Strategically Shaping the Character of a Community 5 7 Yearning to Breathe Free: Empowering Immigrants in Louisville w w w. s t lo ui sfed . or g Saving Up for College, Gearing Up for Success: A Holistic Strategy for Increasing Access to Higher Education From Graduation Caps to Hard Hats: Ranken Technical College Students Learn Hands-On Workforce Skills While Building Stronger Communities By Jeanne C. Marra O n Tuesdays and Thursdays, Ranken Technical College's Carpentry & Building Construction Technology students are seated in a classroom learning the tools of the trade for building houses. The other three days of the week, rain or shine, they learn in their virtual lab—a house they are building two blocks away. They are pouring foundations, framing bedrooms and, eventually, laying ceramic tile in what will soon become a family's kitchen. By the time they graduate, Ranken students have a brick-and-mortar portfolio that showcases a brand-new single-family home, crafted from their newfound skills and guided by veteran expertise. The Fulfilling an Economic Need Through Middle-Skill Labor Since 1907, the mission at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis has been to train skilled workers for the region by preparing students for careers in trade, technical and skilled-service occupations. With its roots in mechanical trades, today's Ranken, which offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs, is equally known for its technical achievements and state-of-the-art technologies that keep students abreast of the latest marketplace needs. During this period of unstable economy and at a time when the value of traditional higher education is being questioned, Ranken claims its graduates are still in high demand, as evidenced by its 96 to 98 percent Federal Reserve Bank of St . job-placement rate within six months of graduation. The reason for Ranken's impressive success? "We train people for the middle-skill levels," says John Wood, vice president for student success at the college. According to Wood, this middle-skill level was traditionally supported primarily by baby boomers, who are now retiring in great numbers. Ranken's educational approach helps fill the gaps resulting from such vacancies and keeps many technical jobs in the United States, Wood says. "Not only that, but these trades are traditionally recession-proof," he adds. According to a December 2012 article in Harvard Business Review, middle-skill jobs are expected Louis: continued on Page 4 Central to America's Ec o n o m y TOP: Almost market-ready, this newly completed house sold even before it was listed, in May 2013. BOTTOM: Ranken's Carpentry & Building Construction Technology students receive hands-on expert training on all stages of homebuilding projects—from framing to finishing. ™

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