Good Jobs without a BA

by Sarah Buchanan, Brown University Bonner Fellow at Apprenticeship RI

We tell kids they have to go to college to have a good career.  Aiming for college is good advice, but it ignores Apprenticeship and it ignores the reality that the number one reason students leave college without a degree is financial.

“There are still 30 million good jobs in the U.S. that pay well without a BA,” according to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.  “These well-paid jobs still require post-secondary education, including gaining specialized skills and significant training beyond high school,” according the Building Futures’ Executive Director, Andrew Cortes, “but not necessarily Bachelor’s degree.”  Many of these well-paid jobs are in construction, technology, and healthcare and are facing critical shortages of skilled workers.

That’s where Apprenticeship RI comes in. Apprenticeship RI, an initiative of Building Futures, is doing two important things.  First it is assisting employers in adopting the Registered Apprenticeship model and second it is partnering with the State of Rhode Island to strengthen the entire Apprenticeship System.  By partnering with Apprenticeship RI, employers from hospitals and manufacturers to the police are launching new training pathways and formalizing programs as Registered Apprenticeships.

One thing both major political parties agree on is that Apprenticeship will only grow over the coming decades. This past June, President Trump issued an Executive Order calling for expansion of apprenticeships, following in the steps of his predecessor President Obama, whose administration invested “$90 Million through Apprenticeship USA to Expand Proven Pathways into the Middle Class.”

Every year, students take on millions of dollars in debt for bachelor’s degrees with no guarantee of a job. Many do not consider, or even realize, the possibility of other routes such as Apprenticeship, which combine good jobs with post-secondary education and a portable credential.  Apprenticeship reduces risk, because apprenticeship is employment from day one.  Apprentices are selected by employers and hired at the onset before investing 1 to 5 years training and developing mastery in a specialized career. To learn more about developing a Registered Apprenticeship at your company, visit Apprenticeship RI.

For more information, visit the Center on Education and the Workforce’s new report: Good Jobs That Pay Without a BA.