Apprenticeships Making a Comeback?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

7170645458_d720bec95f_b_apprenticeSomewhere between random free college for everyone and Teutonic regimentation geared towards industry is a happy medium of career choices that American high school graduates used to come much closer to having access to.

“The middle-skill level, short of a BA but beyond high school, has been shrinking for about 20 years,” Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown, pointed out on Tuesday, February 09, 2016 at the Center for American Progress (CAP). Yet and still, few in the educational establishment want students to come up short of a Bachelor of Arts.

“My biggest nemesis is the high school counselor who says 100 percent of my kids are going to college,” Jeremy Diebel, a senior manager of Machining at MTU America, Inc., said that same day, while on the panel with Holzer at CAP. “I say, ‘Really?’”

“How many are coming out? What are they coming out with other than a mountain of debt?”

Diebel also directs the apprenticeship program at MTU, a German company with a South Carolina branch, through which apprentices can obtain a South Carolina metal worker’s certificate. As a purely voluntary arrangement, with ample freedom of choice, it may sound wonderful but then, government subsidies might kick in.

Indeed, the U. S. Department of Labor has established an Office of Apprenticeships. Holzer noted that businesses face “high-fixed costs up front for apprenticeships.”

Photo by Chris Hunkeler