President Trump recently signed an executive order removing federal restrictions that he says have prevented industries from expanding apprenticeship programs. He believes the move will allow the nation to expand the number of “earn while you learn” opportunities to up to five million people over the next five years, according to Katherine Mangan, in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Please read the piece for details, especially if your school is interested in starting or expanding an apprenticeship program. Some critics claim that removing the rules means reduced supervision and will result in less academic rigor. Others are concerned that low-income ethnic minorities will be channeled into apprenticeships, as more affluent students will continue to choose a path leading to a bachelor’s degree.
Apprenticeships are popular in Europe, especially in Germany and Switzerland. Reportedly in these countries there is no social stigma attached to students entering apprenticeships, which can lead to lucrative careers and professional advancement.
A crucial component of apprenticeships involves employers paying students to attend classes at a nearby college or university while working and learning on the job. But some companies in the U.S. may not be willing to commit the funds, according to the article. Another potential drawback is the multi-layered system of education here, while European countries are more centralized and less complex to adapt.
All the same, apprenticeships may be a promising alternative in certain fields. The piece points out that such programs are not necessarily limited to manufacturing, building trades, and other historic approaches to training workers. The financial services industry is one possibility, for instance.