In Germany, they average 40 apprentices per 1,000 workers. In the United States the ratio is 3 per 1,000 workers. Youth unemployment in Germany is less than ½ of what it is in the United States. Would more apprenticeships reduce youth unemployment in the US? Which door will YOU choose?
So what is the point? Consider these questions – Does everyone need to go to college to be considered successful? Is there an alternative path to having a successful life without a college degree? If there is another path, how many high school guidance counselors steer their students toward this alternative path and career? How many parents would propose this alternative to their children?

A typical graduate from college in 2014 left campus with a debt load of $31,000.00 and started to work on a job that averaged $45K per year. Apprentice School students emerge debt free and will make on average $55K on their first job. Which door will you choose?

In many cases parents and guidance counselors think anyone can be an apprentice- and they want their children (or students) to be special. But can apprentices be considered special? The Apprentice School has 4,000 applicants for 230 openings annually. This gives the Apprenticeship School about the same admission rate as Harvard (and without the student debt). It that something to be ashamed of? I think not. The last year of school, the apprentice will make $54K. Which Door?

In the article link at the end of this blog, there is a quote from a Mr. Perez where he says “At the educational level, we need a comprehensive strategy to change the hearts and minds of parents,” Mr. Perez said “There are highly selective, four year colleges that are easier to get into than many apprenticeship programs.”

So we see that the trade-offs between college and an apprenticeship inevitably raise one of the thorniest educational and economic issues today: Who should or should not go to college?

“If you’re in the two thirds of the population that don’t have a college degree, how do you feel if someone says to be a success, you have to have it?” Mr. Petters (Quoted from the reference below) said. “It shouldn’t be a requirement for a middle class life. We have people in our organization who don’t have a college degree and are great, who’ve raised families and had great lives.”

One apprentice said that many of his high school friends who have graduated from college are back home living with their parents. By contrast at age 23 he owns his own home has no student debt and is making over $18.00 per hour. I know which door I would want my children to choose…

The references in this blog are based on the Apprentice School that serves the Navy Shipyard in VA. It is detailed in the New York Times article found here. Also consider reading “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew Crawford.