An exciting trend is emerging in the US workforce: over half a million workers are using apprenticeships to acquire valuable experience and a pathway to a steady job. They’re earning money while learning critical, in-demand skills. In spite of this progress, a stigma remains. For generations, common wisdom has held that a college degree is the best path to professional success; apprenticeships have been considered a second-class option for less-desirable, blue-collar jobs.
As teachers, workers, employers, and students, we must change that narrative and embrace apprenticeships as the path to the new-collar – or specialized skills-based – jobs of the future, such as software engineers, data analysts, and registered nurses, to name a few.
This isn’t an idealistic pitch for a shift in educational policy; the reality is our country has a concrete, demonstrable need for tech works. The tech industry is projected to generate eight million new jobs by 2023 – jobs for which our current university graduates are often woefully unprepared. Code.org reports there are more than 500,000 open computer science jobs, but only 63,744 students graduated with comput