Sunday, April 9, 2017

Beyond ‘The Apprentice’: Why the U.S. needs a thriving apprenticeship system - The Washington Post

Beyond ‘The Apprentice’: Why the U.S. needs a thriving apprenticeship system - The Washington Post:

Beyond ‘The Apprentice’: Why the U.S. needs a thriving apprenticeship system

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If you hear the word “apprentice,” you may well think of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” television show, where he famously told people they were fired, or have a flashback to learning in school about “apprenticeships” in the Middle Ages, when young people would learn a trade at the foot of skilled craftsmen (while providing virtually free labor for years).
Well, apprenticeships never died. In Germany today, for example, 60 percent of high school students spend half of their school time doing academic work and the other half getting hands-on training at a company. Other countries, too, have successful apprenticeship programs that successfully keep young people working.
In the United States, where the focus for years has been getting more people to graduate from college, less than 5 percent of young people train as apprentices. But there is new interest among policymakers in raising that number significantly. President Trump recently embraced the idea of creating millions of apprenticeships over the next five years.
Here’s more on this subject from Jonathan Hasak,  a director of public policy and government affairs at Year Up, a national nonprofit that connects low-income young adults with livable-wage careers. It is one of a number of organizations in that space, including YouthBuild, which works with unemployed young people around the world who dropped out of high school to gain skills they need for employment.
By Jonathan Hasak
An interesting thing happened at the White House recently when Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff attended a roundtable discussion on vocational training with U.S. and German business leaders.  President Trump left that meeting and embraced Benioff’s moonshot goal of creating 5 million apprenticeships within five years, winning praise from advocates who believe that a four-year college should not be the only pathway to a good job in this country.
But with only 505,000 apprentices currently enrolled in Labor Department-registered programs, getting to 5 million apprenticeships will require a level of commitment and investment from America’s C-suites that has been largely absent.  Consider that in 2014, then-President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to call on employers to double the number of apprenticeships at the time to 750,000 by 2019.
Still, any commitment from the White House that helps Americans gain skills that have real currency in today’s labor market should be applauded.  But instead of focusing solely on apprenticeships — an employer-led, driven, and funded model — the Trump administration and corporate leaders like Benioff ought to reframe their moonshot goal and embrace a Beyond ‘The Apprentice’: Why the U.S. needs a thriving apprenticeship system - The Washington Post:

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