Every time I tell someone what I do for a living, the first response I usually get is, “That’s wonderful! Because, you know, college isn’t for everybody.” While I understand the sentiment, I always cringe a little for two reasons: 1. If they are parents, they usually aren’t talking about their own kids; and 2. Post-secondary education is REQUIRED for 80% of all manufacturing jobs and 100% of the apprenticeships that I run. Is it always a traditional 4-year degree? Typically not, but apprenticeships are a wonderful way to advance your career and earn a debt-free education. Here are some important numbers I wish I could share with anyone helping young people decide on their future:
- 15: The average starting wage for apprentices.
Apprenticeships are designed to take entry-level employees to the next level of their career. Students who start an apprenticeship upon high school graduation will be working full time at this wage.
- 1-4: The number of years it takes to complete an apprenticeship.
With a national completion rate of 52.7%, this is roughly the same experience as a traditional 4-year college, but with less debt.
- 0: The average amount of student loan debt for apprentices.
While working closely with a mentor and receiving on-the-job training (OTJ), apprentices also attend related post-secondary trainings (through a local community college or online) – completely paid for by their employer.
- 60,000: The average starting salary for people who complete apprenticeships.
As apprentices learn more, their wage will increase over the course of their program, ending with a wealth-generating income.
- 77: The percentage of people currently working in manufacturing who will be retired by 2030.
The demand is real: If you are looking for job security, manufacturing is the way to go. These jobs range from the assembler to the owner and everywhere in between.
- 1,300+: The number of apprenticed occupations in the United States.
I am, of course, going to promote manufacturing, but there are apprenticeship options for almost any career in our country. Future teachers, medical assistants, and even accordion makers can start their careers and education through apprenticeships.
- ∞: The possibilities that can come from completing an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships open doors to more career growth: Once an apprentice has completed their program, they receive a portable credential (associates degree, industry recognized certificate, and/or a journeyman credential). Should they choose to move up in their career to something like a supervisor or engineer, most manufacturers will pay for at least half of the additional training/college courses required for their next move.
Bottom line: There are several different roads that can be taken to obtain post-secondary education.
This week marks the fourth annual National Apprenticeship Week. We are excited to take part in this celebration with so many other companies, individuals, and educators that are making a difference through apprenticeship programs. We believe apprenticeships work for everyone—from the business owner looking to recruit highly skilled and talented workers, to the job seeker wanting to advance their career. It works because youth and job seekers can earn while they learn, and employers can develop the talent they need to compete today and tomorrow. #NAW2018 #MoreApprenticeships