Making apprenticeship a complement on higher education

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Making apprenticeship a complement on higher education

Apprenticeship has been viewed as an easy solution to the nation’s $1.3 trillion student-debt crisis and high unemployment rate among college graduates. However, it is not a replacement for college education; but rather, it is a complement on higher education.

Ammar Campa-Najjar who served in the Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration under President Obama, is currently working on the apprenticeship model and has recently helped increase federal funding for apprenticeships from $90 million to $95 million per year.

Despite the increased funding, Campa-Najjar shared that the amount of investment is still of vast difference when compared to European countries such as Germany and Switzerland who invest billions in the programme. However, he pointed out that apprenticeship has bipartisan appeal and has received support from both Obama and Trump administrations. The White House has successfully established 75,000 new apprenticeships under the Obama administration; while Trump has released an executive order creating a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion aimed at the development of apprenticeship promotion strategies.

Unlike universities, apprenticeships allow apprentices to learn and be trained for the job market without going into debt. In addition, 87 percent of participants successfully secure jobs upon the completion of their programmes.  However, apprenticeships have been viewed as an easy solution to the nation’s $1.3 trillion student-debt crisis and high unemployment rate among college graduates.

Campa-Najjar argued that apprenticeships can be enhanced and used to rectify possible risks brought about by automation and disloyal workers. In general, americans are afraid to reinvent themselves due to possible uncertainties. Hence, the responsibility lies within the government and public service to carry out necessary demonstrations to help people transition skills-wise and psychologically.

However, Campa-Najjar cited that apprenticeship is not a replacement for college education. Rather, it is a complement on higher education. Apprentices do enroll in universities due to the desire to manage projects they have been working on in their apprenticeship and have received support from their employers to do so. Many tertiary institutions are also at the forefront in making apprenticeship work. Therefore, apprenticeship can be viewed as another effort towards continuing education.

Source: The Atlantic