Why does the U.S. continue to subsidize college degrees that are not providing any employment advantage while manufacturing suffers from a very real lack of skilled labor?

Mismatch exists between jobs and  education.
Mismatch exists between jobs and education.

Stuart E. Eizenstat and Robert I. Lerman, wrote about the need for apprenticeships in The Washington Post earlier this week.

Here are 7 key reasons they say the  U.S. should be developing apprenticeship programs

  1. The United States is on the verge of a manufacturing comeback
  2. Too few workers with the skills needed
  3. The skills gap is real.
  4. U.S. unemployment remains at  7.5 percent
  5. Only one out of two African American men in their early 20s has a job
  6. Inadequate number of skilled workers for intermediate-level technical occupations
  7. There is a dearth of skilled machinists, welders, robotics programmers and those who maintain equipment.

The central answer to the mismatch between jobs and employment is a 21st-century apprenticeship program.

  1. Apprenticeships have grown rapidly in other countries, tripling in Australia since 1996 and jumping tenfold — to more than 500,000 entrants last year — in England since 1990.
  2. The Group of 20 ministers of labor, the International Labor Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development strongly recommend expanding apprenticeship programs.
  3. Apprenticeships could help reduce youth unemployment
  4. Apprenticeships could  widen opportunities for young people
  5. Apprenticeships could help eliminate the mismatch of skills that is holding manufacturing back.

Government spending on colleges and universities tops $300 billion per year; outlays to apprenticeship programs total less than $40 million annually.

That is 7500 times more spending for college- where many graduates remain unemployed without needed skills for employment that will earn the return on their eductaional ‘investment.’

If we are serious about the U.S. remaining a manufacturing leader, perhaps it is time to look at how we are spending our education/ training dollars.

The need for skilled workers in manufacturing that we can’t find and the numbers of unemployed recent college graduates suggests that we can do better.

Hey, I'm askin you a question here!
7500 times more monies spent on college than apprenticeships? Really?

Does anyone besides me think that perhaps paying 7500 times more for college education than to train folks to get valuable skills leading to employment might be out of balance?

 Punk accountant

There are a lot of things to consider in the chart below, but as a manufacturing guy, I believe that the strong economic performance by Germany, compared to Ireland at the current moment,  might be partly explained by Germany’s strong apprenticeship programs, as opposed to sending everyone off to University.
Making people who can make things as opposed to churning out masses of  “symbol managers.”
Q: Who would have thought of “Post Secondary Educational Achievement” a possible negative economic indicator?

A: Professional Journeymen in the trades, perhaps.
So why is the German economy, with its relative lack of  large numbers of well educated citizens in the 20-24 year old age group so far ahead of Ireland?
Perhaps –Manufacturing.
Perhaps- Apprenticeships.
Chart courtesy of Clusterstock Who captioned this Graph” The Irish Collapse Is An Embarrassment To Everyone Who Loves Education”
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