Everyone Agrees on Value of Apprenticeships. The Question Is How to Pay for Them.

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Media Outlet: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Mary Alice McCarthy was quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education on making apprenticeship a part of higher education:

Students in Switzerland and Germany "know that they can continue moving up the higher-education spectrum," no matter where they start out, said Mary Alice McCarthy, who directs the Center on Education and Skills at New America.
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The Pell Grant "was specifically designed for low-income students, and we don’t want our apprenticeship system to become a system that primarily serves low-income students," Ms. McCarthy said. "We want apprenticeships to simply be another option for all students."

Lately, she said, there has also been a muddying of what "apprenticeship" means. On Friday, Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act that includes a section focused on "expanding access to in-demand apprenticeships" through a grant program. But, Ms. McCarthy pointed out, the outline of apprenticeships in the bill — positions as short as three months — does not match the federal definition of apprenticeships, which are at least a year long.

"This basically creates more fragmentation and more confusion about what is an apprenticeship," she said. The grant program would raise wages for the "apprentices" outlined in the bill, but "wages are not the big barrier here," Ms. McCarthy said. The costs of developing apprenticeship programs are more significant.

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Mary Alice McCarthy is the director of the Center on Education & Skills with the Education Policy program at New America (CESNA). Her work examines the intersection between higher education, workforce development, and job training policies