Apprenticeships aren’t just for future plumbers, writes Hechinger’s Matt Krupnick. Community colleges are partnering with employers to create apprenticeships to fill white-collar jobs.
At Illinois’ Harper College, a community college just northwest of Chicago, Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance asked educators to try a Swiss-style apprenticeship program to train more claims adjusters and other workers for its Chicago-area offices. Zurich pays tuition and other expenses for each student, and each spends three days a week getting paid to work at the insurance company and two days in the classroom.
. . . The program lasts two years, after which the graduates have an associate degree in business administration with insurance industry certificates.
More than 150 people applied for the first 24 spots.
After two years, they’ll earn an associate degree in business administration with insurance industry certification. They’ll also have two years of job experience.
Even academic courses, such as English and math, are focused on skills relevant to the insurance industry. Students don’t read Shakespeare, writes Krupnick. They learn technical writing.
The Department of Labor, which certifies apprenticeship programs, is slow keeping up with the times, writes Krupnick. Its list “includes accordion-making and pneumatic tube repair apprenticeships among more than 1,200 apprenticeship-friendly professions, for example, but not yet cybersecurity.”
New America will analyze how to expand high-quality high school apprenticeships, writes Mary Alice McCarthy. “Our young people need options other than just enrolling in college and hoping they beat the odds.”