How Trump Can Make Apprenticeships a Hit

Bloomberg View:  The former host of “The Apprentice” may have finally found a government program suitable to his talents. As part of “workforce development week,”President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka are touting the administration’s commitment to increasing the number of Americans doing apprenticeships.    

A well-designed apprenticeship system -- one that combines classroom instruction with paid, on-the-job training in a specific trade -- has the potential to help U.S. companies grow, reduce their need for foreign talent, liberate young people from the burdens of college debt, and provide low-income Americans with a pathway to the middle class. However, there are cultural, political and practical obstacles to creating such a system.      

Advocates often point to Germany, home to the world’s most well-developed apprenticeship system, as a model. The German experience does show how something similar in the U.S. might work -- and might not.

German students are required to choose a career track while in high school. More than half opt for a two- to three-year paid apprenticeship with a business, alongside part-time classes at a technical school. By the age of 20, when the typical American college student is still a junior, some 60 percent of Germans have already obtained a professional job credential. The linchpins of the German apprenticeship system are employers themselves, which cover two-thirds of the total training costs -- roughly $6.3 billion a year -- for the country’s 1.5 million college-age apprentices.

Replicating the German apprenticeship model in the U.S. would require nothing short of a revolution.   Full Article:

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