ESL for the Trades

The ESL for the Trades class was designed to introduce ESL students to various trades and the training and career opportunities within those trades.

The language acquisition aspect of the course is built on the theory, as outlined by Stephen Krashen that, “...subject matter teaching in a second language, when comprehensible, is language teaching, because it provides comprehensible input.” The key for ESL instructors is making this content comprehensible for our students. The course outline shows the main components of the pilot course and provides some ideas for organizing a Trades ESL class, and the resource list and example materials provide ideas on making this content comprehensible for our ESL students.

Moreover, this type of course could be developed for several different career areas, such as Allied Health, Business Technology, Automotive and other programs. At the lower level of ESL classes, students could explore broad areas of careers, and as they advance in the ESL program they could focus on particular training and career objectives. By raising students’ awareness of career opportunities and giving them the language skills they need to pursue those opportunities, we can enable our students to pursue satisfying and rewarding careers.

Course materials

  • Introduction
  • Syllabus
  • Course Outline
  • Example Materials
  • Resources
  • Notes on TPR
  • Ideas for Future Courses

I.T. and Mechatronics DACUM

This DACUM (Develop A Curriculum) asks, “Within the setting of a typical construction site in the Pacific Northwest what are the core I.T.-related skills that are carried out on a typical work site by the whole spectrum of trades, site foremen and site managers?” 

In thinking about how the workplace has changed in construction with the increasing dominance of information tracking and communication technology, it appears that whatever trade one might be working in, certain core I.T. skills have become basic requirements on most job sites. Ten years ago what was then thought to be advanced I.T. skills have become the basic skills today. A person's career advancement and growth is very much dependent on whether or not he/she has a foundational knowledge and skill set in information technology and whether or not they continue to learn and update their skills.

The chart included in this DACUM summarizes the profile of typical I.T.-related tasks that most construction workers carry out on a regular basis.


Leadership Responsibilities DACUM

This DACUM (Develop A Curriculum) is a detailed profile of the leadership responsibilities expected of a lead journeyman, foreman or lead contractor on a typical construction project in the Pacific Northwest. The DACUM is intended to be used as the foundational working documents for ongoing curriculum development for a certificate in Leadership Development. It is the intention of the Construction Center of Excellence to support the development of this certificate and to make it available to the Washington community and technical college system to offer to experienced journeymen and others who wish to move into leadership positions.

Supplemental Resources for Electrical Courses

Fundamentals of Electricity and Advanced Electrical are required courses in the Commercial Building and Industrial Engineering programs at Renton Technical College. The textbook for these courses is Electrical Principles & Practices, Third Edition by Glen A. Mazur and Peter A. Zurlis (copyright 2007 by American Technical Publishers, Inc.: ISBN 978-0-8269- 1803-1). The book comes with a CD of additional resources, and there is an accompanying workbook which also has a CD. These are excellent resources, and the students are encouraged to use them to help with their studies. 

During class discussions and lab work, however, the instructor and students often bring up additional points and questions. We have compiled the following list of supplemental resources that may be used to enhance class discussions and to give students additional ways of understanding the material presented in the textbook and classroom activities. Most of the supplemental resources are available online, including images, definitions and explanations, news articles, and videos.

Financial Tools for the Trades

Port Jobs created Financial Tools for the Trades to give apprentices the tools to plan for unemployment, manage their money, build credit, deal with debt, and save for the future.  In partnership with Wells Fargo, Port Jobs teaches Financial Tools workshops to apprentices in the greater Seattle area.

Financial Tools for the Trades is a money management class for building and construction trades workers. It covers being prepared for layoffs, managing money, building good credit, and dealing with debt. Here you can watch part of a class, hear from students and training directors, and more. Created by Port Jobs.

Middle to High School Curriculum & Activities

Career Exploration Websites

National Bureau of Labor Statistics

This resource offers a vast website of economic and job information – it also has a career exploration tool just for kids.

The Pierce County Construction Partnership has a terrific search engine of local jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities. 

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Preschool to Elementary Curriculum & Activities

Fun Websites for Little Builders

Architecture, Building and Construction links for kids

This website features many hands-on activities for elementary-age children, and interesting facts about famous construction projects, such as Seattle’s Space Needle.

Construction Activities for Children

With birthday party ideas and coloring pages, this is a great site for little construction workers in the making.

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Construction Math Toolbox

Course Overview

The Construction Math Toolbox combines fun, industry-required math lessons with supplemental academic and career guidance information. It was developed by the CCE with numerous state and local partners for the Transition Math Project. The lesson plans align with grade level expectations for 8th, 9th, and 10th grades as a bridge to Essential Academic Learning Requirements identified in the College Readiness Standards.  Teachers can use this toolbox to practice problem solving for the WASL, and to help older students prepare their portfolios and/or culminating projects needed for graduation.

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Human Relations and Leadership Skills

Course Overview

Human Relations and Leadership Skills is a required (4 credit) course in both the Commercial Building Engineering and Industrial Engineering programs at Renton Technical College. It is a six-week course that meets for a total of 48 hours.  This course helps students increase their self-awareness and leadership skills to get along with co-workers, employers, and clients in the industrial and commercial maintenance fields.

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Computer Fundamentals

Course Overview

Computer Fundamentals & Lab is a required (6 credit) course in both the Commercial Building Engineering and Industrial Engineering programs at Renton Technical College. It is a one quarter course that meets for a total of 96 hours.

This course provides an introduction to the hardware, operating systems, and application programs used by stationary engineers.

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