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When Plans Change Senior YearSydnei Kaplan
More and more students are exploring alternatives to the traditional four-year college path, and not just because of the pandemic.
Though pursuing a bachelor's degree will always be a popular choice, and for a good reason, it may not be the right move for your student.
It’s also possible that your high school or college student isn't aware that there are other options available!
Many college students struggle to prepare for life after graduation. Despite the availability of career fairs and career advising on campus, knowing what you want to do for a living is a daunting question to answer with minimal working experience. Never mind the fact that some “entry level" jobs actually require years of experience, which most college grads haven't had a chance to build.
Apprenticeships could be the perfect cure-all for this issue. A combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training means apprentices get to apply what they're learning in the real world, and upon completion of the apprenticeship program, they're certified to work in their industry.
Apprenticeship programs combine hands-on work with classroom learning (in person or virtual), and apprentices are considered full-time employees. Employers use apprenticeship programs to develop their future workforce and help them recruit and prepare qualified individuals.
Apprentices are paid for their work as they train and it's common to receive incremental wage increases as they advance in the apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeships are available in a growing number of industries including:
There are two different formal apprenticeship programs in the U.S. The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) model has been validated by the U.S. Department of Labor or a State Apprenticeship Agency.
Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP) are recognized by a Standards Recognition Entity in line with the Department of Labor’s standards, and are a relatively new addition to the official apprenticeship scene.
The difference is mainly about the companies and job sectors sponsoring the individual apprenticeships as well as access to federal funding and grants. Your student probably doesn't need to worry about the distinction.
There are lots of places your student can look to learn what opportunities are out there.
If they still need a spark of inspiration, they can always start with a general search for the best apprenticeships for career opportunities, progression, job security, etc. They don’t have to start with an industry of interest if they’re not there yet!
Apprenticeships offer many benefits and are definitely worth considering if your student is unsure about their future. The job security and structure that apprenticeships provide is almost unparalleled, not to mention the idea of being paid to work while learning!
Of course, it’s possible that an apprenticeship isn't what your student is looking for and another alternative to traditional college would suit them better. Take some time to sit down together and fully consider all the options so you can help your student make a fully informed decision about their future and how best to set off in the direction of success and personal satisfaction.