Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez points out that there are multiple pathways to the middle class and, with 5.4M job openings currently in the US, apprenticeship programs can be a way to address multiple problems. The earn-while-you-learn programs help students gain marketable job skills without incurring college debt. Apprenticeships can also be structured in ways that allow for simultaneous pursuit of a college degree or transfer of credit into college degree programs, if desired.
The US has traditionally looked at apprenticeships as a pathway to technical jobs, but, as Perez points out, apprenticeships can apply across virtually every sector of the economy.
The work that we are doing here in Boone County in partnership with Launch Code is an excellent model that could expand far beyond the IT sector.
For those interested in learning more about the opportunities that apprenticeship programs offer and the value they bring to rebuilding the middle class, check out the July 28 NPR program: A New Push For Apprenticeship As A Path To Employment