Apprenticeships are hot, but not all lead to middle-class jobs, writes Mark Schneider on The Quick and the Ed.
Last month, President Obama announced a $100 million fund to support apprenticeship programs in fields such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing. For all the praise of apprenticeships, the number enrolled is much lower than 10 years ago. Completions are down from 52,000 in 2002 to 44,000 today.
The White House says that 87 percent of apprentices find jobs that average more than $50,000 a year in pay. This is an exaggeration, according to Florida data. The median wage is $37,252 for registered apprentices, who typically study at a community or technical college.
Graduates with an associate degree in science earn the most, with the associate in applied science coming second and apprentices a close third. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree start at only $33,652.
Starting wages are much higher for apprentices in jobs that “keep things working” than for those in cooking and early childhood education. Elevator construction mechanics start at $67,565.
“The best training is on-the-job training,” says Linda Poage, program manager at the Apprenticeship and Journeyman Training Center at Spokane Community College. Community College Daily looks at existing college-linked apprenticeship programs and plans for expansion with new federal dollars.