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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Feds fund college, neglect job training

College isn't worth the cost, say 56 percent of of respondents -- 60 percent among 18- to 34-year-olds -- in a a new Wall Street Journal poll. Only 42 percent agreed that a "four-year college education is worth the cost because people have a better chance to get a good job and earn more income over their lifetime," down 11 percentage points since 2013, reports Emma Camp in Reason.

Apprenticeship programs are booming, reports the Journal, but some -- especially company-run programs for white-collar jobs -- are very hard to get into.

The federal government has neglected workforce training in favor of funding college, college and more college, writes Preston Cooper in Forbes.

Federally funded job training usually requires the jobless to enroll at a community college, notes a new report from Harvard University’s Project on the Workforce. Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), "dollars tend to go toward classroom learning environments rather than work-based learning environments. . . . Programs seem less an alternative to traditional higher education, and more an additional source of college aid."

Only 1 percent of WIOA programs are apprenticeships, which typically lead to high-paying jobs, the report found. Instead, many programs train women for low-paying jobs as medical or nursing assistants.

Traditional higher education "enjoys hundreds of billions of dollars in annual subsidies from federal and state governments," writes Cooper. "True work-based alternatives to college, such as apprenticeships, get only a sliver of the funding allocated to traditional higher education."

Legislation in Congress would let students use Pell grants to fund short-term job training that leads to industry-recognized credentials or certificates. Currently, programs that last less than 15 weeks are not covered.

Cooper also suggests letting apprentices use Pell grants "to pay for any classroom components of their programs."

85 views4 comments


Apr 17, 2023

This is why companies like Google and Tesla don't even care if you attended college- they want to know what you can do, now. With unlimited online access to courses, books, videos and master classes for virtually any subject, the only thing holding anyone back is self-discipline and a clear goal. You can always take a test or certification after the fact to 'prove' your level of knowledge.


Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Apr 11, 2023

Vocational education & training should be governed by the States, which should facilitate its beginning in upper secondary education, as early as age 15, if such youth can find an apprenticeship: states like California should encourage employers to create such apprenticeships, especially since their federalized state school districts are doing such a disastrous job with basic and general education, with far too many in the latter being counselled, whether prepared or not, into higher education in our world-leading university system, whose success damages American education overall because of its relative omnipotence.

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Apr 13, 2023
Replying to

Correct, and we need to develop alternatives as quickly as possible.

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