Revisiting Apprenticeships

29 September 2017

By the American Council on Education

While the word apprenticeship may evoke images of craft guilds in the Middle Ages, the concept is gaining new currency today in the United States. Here’s what you need to know.

apprenticeAn online search for the term “apprenticeship” quickly yields illustrations of medieval bakers and roof thatchers. With those images in mind, it’s a bit disconcerting when Sarah Ayres Steinberg, a policy analyst on the economic policy team at the Center for American Progress, says that right now in the United States, “apprenticeship is a very
hot topic.”

To back her claim, Steinberg cites facts that make one sit up and take notice. Earlier this year, for example, the Obama administration announced that it was creating a $100 million program to support new apprenticeship programs, particularly those in nontraditional, high-demand occupations. In his budget, the president has called for
$2 billion to double the number of apprentices in the United States in five years. In recent speeches, Vice President Joe Biden has been advocating “job-driven” training, which Steinberg says has become a buzz phrase in the administration.

Meanwhile, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) have reached across the political aisle to jointly introduce a measure that would give a $1,000 tax credit to businesses that sponsor apprentices.