With unemployment rates steadily dropping, there’s never been a better time to look for a job. While most organizations focus on the rosy outlook on landing a job, many employers are finding it difficult to fill positions because of the widening skills gap. As employers search for qualified new hires that will remain with them for the long haul, many U.S. adults are learning from labor – apprenticeships may better prepare a generation for work life.
Learning from Labor
A recent Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the American Staffing Association revealed that a growing majority of adults view apprenticeships favorably compared to a traditional degree. In fact, 9 in 10 Americans see apprenticeships as advantageous stepping stones towards a secure future, and 62% of those surveyed say that an apprenticeship will make a person more employable than going to college. It’s a significant shift in the traditional views on work and employment, one where skills are valued instead of solely relying on a degree. It’s a lesson learned from the long history of labor.
Keeping Options Open
By no means is this a monolithic shift. While there is a growing trend in the favorability of apprenticeships as a pathway to work, 9 in 10 say it is smart to consider both an apprenticeship and a traditional college degree program. This is still a far cry from what is often viewed as the only route to employment – a 4-year college degree. While those surveyed still hold a degree in high esteem, the overwhelming majority disagree with the idea that an apprenticeship would limit a potential jobseeker’s job options or even hurt their potential salary.
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The shift in skills-based consideration isn’t a new concept to those in the construction industry. For decades, skills jobs valued hands-on experience and helped people break into long-term, fulfilling careers; it’s a surprise that other sectors are just catching on. While there’s nothing wrong with a two or four-year degree, there’s a lot of opportunity for those that look beyond a bachelor’s. As the need for more and more skilled workers continues to grow, it seems like the rest of the world is learning to appreciate what an apprenticeship program brings to the table.