Created in 1984, the Substitute Vocational Assistant (SVA) Program was developed to solve the vocational teacher shortage in the New York City Board of Education System. This was conducted by the collaborative efforts between the NYC Board of Education, the United Federation of Teachers, and New York City College. Through its revolutionary methods, students were selected from high school and given the opportunity to train as future occupational teachers. Selection criteria originally focused on applicants from underrepresented minorities and non-traditional genders, based on projected need for identified trade areas. SVAs originally attended City University of New York - City College at night while working in the industry the first 7 months and teaching trade classes the last 5 months of the year.
At the turn of the millennium the SVA Program was restructured and renamed the Success Via Apprenticeship Program in order to reflect the transition from the Vocational/Occupation Education mindset to Career & Technical Education. Through the reformation, the SVA Program grew through its collaborative partners: The New York City Department of Education, The United Federation of Teachers, and the City University of New York (CUNY) at the New York City College of Technology. Although several titles and locations changed for the program and its members, the core elements remained the same. SVAs continued to rotate through industry sites and school classrooms, but additional metrics were implemented to evaluate progress, as well as data collection.
The SVA Program’s purpose is to develop Reflective and Caring Technical Educators for a World of Technology & Diversity by hiring interested graduates of CTE programs to become highly efficient teachers. In essence, many of the components of the SVA Program have remained the same, however more stringent policies were put in place to ensure that candidates would graduate with the pedagogical ability expected of teachers, as well as certifying teachers in their content area on top of supplying placements to gain meaningful technical trade skills. In addition, this evolution of the program has invoked a vested interest by the City of New York, increasing funding and support for more candidates. The SVA Program boasts the highest training and retention rate of any teacher preparation program.
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