Today, funding for the school-based approach to skill development in the United States dwarfs the amounts for apprenticeship. Yet apprenticeship programs yield far higher and more immediate gains in earnings than do community or career college programs, and cost students and the government far less. Apprenticeships widen the pathways to rewarding careers by upgrading occupational skills, employability skills, and traditional academic skills. While structural barriers to expanding apprenticeship exist, this essay explains how investments in marketing and standards development and financial support for the off-job costs of apprenticeship, can overcome these barriers and thereby increase skills, wages, and productivity.
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