Apprenticeship plan will not burden taxpayers

March 31, 2019

The expansion of apprenticeship offerings in our high schools as outlined by John Wiley has a myriad of benefits. It gives students who don't have interest in going to college a viable alternative. It gives students an opportunity to learn a skill and be prepared for the workforce by the time they graduate from high school. It also gives those students an opportunity to make money while still in high school. And it gives local businesses a steady pipeline of trained, qualified workers coming into the workforce each year. Here's what it doesn't do: It doesn't burden taxpayers. Wiley envisions a program that would call for a handful of existing school positions to be redefined to coordinate the apprenticeships with local businesses. But no new positions and no new funding would be needed. The bigger investment would come from the business community. The companies involved would need to commit to the apprentice program, willing to pay the agreed-up hourly rate -- Wiley proposes that at $10 an hour -- and provide the necessary on-the-job mentoring. The payoff for those businesses will be in the stream of young, trained workers coming into the job market ready to contribute immediately. For the schools, no new funding is needed, no jobs lost. It's a win for the students, it's a win for the schools and it's a win for the companies who struggle to find qualified workers. Are you an employer willing to step up to give these teens a chance at a viable future?

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