Douglas Belkin wrote a Wall Street Journal article titled More Students Are Turning Away From College and Toward Apprenticeships (March 16, 2023).

« Today, colleges and universities enroll about 15 million undergraduate students, while companies employ about 800,000 apprentices. In the past decade, college enrollment has declined by about 15%, while the number of apprentices has increased by more than 50%, according to federal data and Robert Lerman, a labor economist at the Urban Institute and co-founder of Apprenticeships for America. »

« Apprenticeship programs are increasing in both number and variety. About 40% are now outside of construction trades, where most have traditionally been, Dr. Lerman said. Programs are expanding into white-collar industries such as banking, cybersecurity and consulting at companies including McDonald’s Corp., Accenture PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. »

« Apprenticeships take many forms but generally pair students with a course of study focused on a particular occupation and practical work experience under the supervision of a mentor. Typically, employers pay costs associated with school as well as a wage.»

« Some programs have boomed in popularity, with admission rates as competitive as those at some Ivy League universities. »

« Companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Delta Air Lines Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have responded by dropping college degrees as requirements for some positions and shifting hiring to focus more on skills and experience. »

« Maryland has set a statewide goal of 45% of high-school students starting a registered apprenticeship by 2031. »

« Zurich North America, an insurance firm, says it hired 92 apprentices last year, many right out of high school, from more than 800 applicants. Most apprentices attend community college. They are based in offices across the country where they work stints in different departments such as underwriting, claims, audit, statistical reporting, IT, cybersecurity and reinsurance, said Al Crook, who leads the company’s apprenticeship program. »

« EJ Crespo, 20, is now in the billing audit department at Zurich’s office in Schaumburg, Ill., outside of Chicago. … He earns about $40,000 a year while taking four classes a semester at a community college and working 24 hours a week during the school year—and full time in summer. »

« By contrast, a college degree offers a broader, general education, which “makes people more adaptable and able to learn new skills that show up later when the economy changes,” he said. »

« “There are a lot of kids in college who you can tell just aren’t invested in being there,” said Addison McKown, spokeswoman for Modern Apprenticeship in Indiana and a recent graduate of Butler University. “This gives them another option.” »

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