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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."

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