Prescription: Bring back apprenticeships & vocational training
there are modern versions of apprenticeship that can help businesses fill sales, medical, and skilled jobs with qualified candidates without a degree.
Extend Vocational Options Experts argue (that’s what experts do) that undergrad business degrees are no more than expensive vocational training, especially majors like finance and marketing. It shouldn’t cost between $80,000 and $200,000 to learn to work in groups and create PowerPoint presentations. Many of the lower ranked business schools barely require more than 10 hours of work a week. Even master’s programs—liberal arts, social sciences, sub-top 50 MBAs, and some science degrees—are crimes against money. They don’t produce extra earning potential and still rely on employers to teach core job skills. Mature graduates could have gone straight to the dance. (p142)
Vocational training and apprenticeships can make makers at the lower and midrange of the job scale. (p147)
According to the U.S. Department of Labor there were over 17,000 active apprentices in Manufacturing, the fourth highest industry sector for apprentices, behind Construction, the Military and Public Administration. Apprentices overall have grown by 42% since 2013. In that year, there were approximately 375,000 and in 2017 there were over 500,000. Clearly there is a strong federal push to support manufacturing apprenticeship programs. The U.S Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative awarded over $175 million to 46 public-private partnership to develop and expand apprentice programs in 2017.
A recent study by Case Western Reserve University profiled one company’s apprentice machinists to hires off the street. The comparison indicated at least a 50% rate of return on its apprenticeship program. Apprentices in the same study were more likely to finish their work on time, and were slightly more productive, compared to machinists hired off the street
With more than 6m jobs unfilled, business is becoming the driving force behind a rethink of how to organise training
Prosper opens up new incentives for students, especially at community colleges, to make the transition to gainful employment by increasing funding for private-sector apprenticeships. “The legislation is going to expand student access to—and the ability to participate in—industry-led ‘earn and learn’ programs,” Rep. Foxx explained.
Today, McDonald’s announced that it was taking the savings it realized thanks to enactment of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and plowing $150 million of that that into the expansion of its apprenticeship program.
Wisconsin and Connecticut aren’t the only states to take this action. Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Utah, North Dakota, and Nebraska have all reformed their ratio laws in recent years in order to permit the hiring of more apprentices.
“Already, some U.S. companies are embracing the apprenticeship model. Apprenticeship2000, based in Charlotte, N.C., offers four-year training programs for teenagers starting their junior or senior years of high school. Participants receive on-the-job training in high-skilled, technical labor, as well as benefits. Most importantly, they’re getting paid to go to school. And across the state line, Tognum America has adopted an apprenticeship program at its plant in Aiken County, S.C., training local high school juniors and seniors.”
“Having collapsed with the decline of industry in the 1980s, apprenticeships were revived by the Labour government and are positively soaring under the coalition. Government figures released today show a huge increase of 63.5% in the year after the election, and provisional figures for this year show a further 10% jump.”
“Qualified apprentices, at the end of their training, receive a VET diploma, a signal of preparedness universally recognized by Swiss employers. Most move into jobs that average about $50,000 a year in salary to start. Roughly 30% of them go on to receive bachelor’s degrees or other advanced training, which increase their earnings power into the six figures.”
“The good news is that some visionary businesses, educators, and nonprofit funders are intensifying efforts to revamp and upgrade career education—twenty-first-century vocational education—in the United States…The rising number of students participating in programs that tailor education to career goals—programs that emphasize work-related experience and teach to the high standards necessary for modern jobs—the payoff has been impressive.”
“America has more than 6 million vacant jobs, yet the country is “facing a serious skills gap,” Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta recently said. And last week his boss, President Donald Trump, said he wants to close this gap by directing $100 million of federal money into apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships in the U.S. are generally known for training workers for blue collar jobs like plumbers or electricians, but with a little tweak, they could be the path to lucrative, white collar tech jobs across the country. Not just in coastal cities, but also in the Midwest, South, and across the Great Plains.”
“What’s promising about apprenticeship is that participants don’t have to go into debt while getting trained for the workforce. Unlike college, apprentices learn while they earn. What’s more, 87 percent of participants finish their programs having already secured a job. Apprenticeships are, in turn, being touted as a simple fix to the country’s $1.3 trillion student-debt crisis and the high percentage of unemployed college graduates.”