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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Tracewell

Apprenticeships and Trades — how do I join this movement?

If you've been watching the news, you may have seen headlines about the shortage of skilled labor across all trades. In fact, it's being called a crisis by the US Chamber of Commerce. For every 10 jobs, only seven people are available. Now is an excellent time to jump into the trades, either by becoming an apprentice or getting a certificate or degree from one of our many trade schools or community colleges.

What is an apprenticeship, and what are the trades, you may be asking? An apprenticeship is a program that prepares you for a specific type of job that meets a company’s need for highly skilled employees. Apprenticeship combines on-the-job training and paid work, meaning you receive a wage throughout the program. The trades refer to any job that requires advanced training and skills that a person learns through programs other than a traditional 4-year college degree. For example, many jobs in the construction industry, such as a plumber or electrician, or other experts such as boilermaker, solar panel expert, or wind turbine technician, require you to have significant experience and training before you can work.

Top Three Perks of Apprenticeships:

  1. A paycheck: From the first day of your training, you get paid. You receive a wage while you’re training, and it continues to increase as your skills increase. You are on the way to a fulfilling career with little to no debt.

  2. Training: You receive on-the-job training from experts in the field. Classroom instruction is also part of the apprenticeship training. The classes you take will be directly related to your field and can be applied toward a degree or certification.

  3. Certification: At the end of your program you will receive a credential that is recognized nationwide. The Office of Apprenticeship in the U.S. Department of Labor develops a list of nationally recognized apprenticeships.

Baker Charter School counselors held a webinar this week to explain all the nuts and bolts about apprenticeships and the trades. You can view the slides here and learn more about this very attractive and lucrative option for your post-high school plans.

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