Links between high school and careers are too weak for youth to transition successfully from school to careers. These deficiencies have contributed to a widening earnings gap between college and high school graduates. This article calls for the development and implementation of a large-scale youth apprenticeship system in the US. Such a system could strengthen student engagement, emphasize learning by doing and teamwork, and embed mechanisms to match skill development with employer demand. Apprenticeships can expose youth to adult peers and mentors and promote earned self-esteem, features especially attractive to minority youth. It’s time to rethink US learning strategies.
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