Real Education for the Real Economy

Comments Off on Real Education for the Real Economy
Real Education for the Real Economy

In mid-June, President Trump signed an executive order to double the $200 million the U.S. currently spends on apprenticeship programs.  This is an important step toward closing the skills gap in the American economy.1

The latest data show that 6.9 million Americans are unemployed.  Yet, at the same time, employers have 6 million jobs they can’t fill.2 

The reason for this apparent contradiction is the ongoing crisis in the U.S. education system, which churns out college graduates with liberal arts degrees that aren’t suited to the demands of modern employers.  For those who forgo college and the crippling burden of student loan debt, the job outlook is even worse, because high schools fail to provide students with the skills they need to find jobs even in factories, which increasingly require specialized knowledge to work with automation and robotics.  The Manufacturing Institute estimates that manufacturers will need to fill 3.4 million jobs over the next ten years, but they won’t be able to find suitable candidates for 2 million of those jobs.

Apprenticeship programs provide both the opportunity to gain marketable skills and the chance to earn a solid income.  According to a commentary in Fortune magazine by Nicholas Wyman, author of Job U:  How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need, “This typically three- or four-year endeavor allows the apprentice to acquire new skills under the watchful eyes of a trained mentor.  One or two days each week are dedicated to classwork at a local community college or technical school, but no college debt is accrued.  Better still, apprentices earn while they learn, and most are gainfully employed by the conclusion of their apprenticeship.  How many four-year college students can say the same?”3

According to FoxBusiness, for example, an eighteen- year-old student in Chicago is earning $38,500 a year as an apprentice at the professional services firm Aon while he works toward his degree in business management.4  But today, such opportunities are rare.  Only 505,000 of the jobs in the U.S. are filled by apprentices, or about one-third of one percent of the 146 million American jobs.

It’s easy to see why expanding the apprenticeship program is a win-win for Millennials seeking jobs and for employers...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund