Expanding Apprenticeships Across More Jobs

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Media Outlet: Inside Higher Ed

Mary Alice McCarthy was quoted in Inside Higher Ed on using apprenticeships as an education and training model:

“We are underutilizing apprenticeships as an education and training model, and it could be much more widely spread,” said Mary Alice McCarthy, director of the Center on Education and Skills with the education policy program at New America and a former official at the U.S. Education and Labor Departments. “[The researchers] even make a good case that it’s not even being used enough in the skilled trades and occupations related to skilled trades.”

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McCarthy said for some occupations, such as graphic design, not only is it difficult to convince the higher education world that students need something other than a degree, but students and parents aren’t convinced, either.

“One thing is very clear -- if it is something that leads people away from a college degree, they are very suspicious and they want it to connect to a college degree,” she said.

So apprenticeships also present an opportunity for community colleges, four-year institutions and industry associations to work together, Sigelman said.

“It’s not just about the jobs,” McCarthy said. “When you look at it through the lens of occupation, occupation is the end of the line.”

McCarthy said the goal should be to connect apprenticeships to higher education systemically so the student employee is trained for the job and moving forward through an associate degree and then a bachelor’s degree. She points to the degree apprenticeship system in the United Kingdom as an example.

In the News:

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