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McCutcheon Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

Apprenticeship vs. College Degree

With the exception of those with “high-end” majors, skilled apprentices in the U.S. earn more than the average 4-year college graduate over their lifetimes, According to Dr. Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

In addition to their higher lifetime-earnings potential, an apprenticeship allows workers to earn money while learning a trade and get the hands-on experience that employers are looking look for so they are at a distinct advantage over those that are coming straight out of a classroom.

In contrast to earning as you learn, many who attend 4-year college institutions enter the workforce with staggering amounts of debt.

So why is it that less than 1% of workers in the U.S. begin their careers as apprentices?

Colorado recently became first state to offer a statewide youth-apprenticeship program. The program dubbed “Careerwise Colorado” was instituted because industries in the state were facing a severe shortage of “middle-skilled” workers. Middle-skills are those that require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.

This shortage of tradespeople is not unique to Colorado and it remains to be seen whether the success of Careerwise Colorado will lead to an increase in apprenticeship programs.

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