Do you really need a Bachelor’s degree to do that?

The rise in jobs that require higher education is real.  But do all those jobs you post with “Bachelor’s degree required” really use that college education and hold the interest of a college graduate?   For starters, Carnevale et al. at the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce found 44% of “college job openings” in Rhode Island are below the Bachelor’s level.  Second, the apprenticeship model helps employers separate and unpack what employees need to get started from what education level they need to grow their career with the firm. 

This week the Chronical of Higher Education features a story about financial services giant, Aon and how they have developed apprenticeships for entry level professional roles.  College education is hugely valuable, but instead of hiring college grads into high attrition jobs that bore them, Aons is beginning to employ more students on a path to a college degree through their apprenticeship program.   Identifying the roles at the sweet spot with the right level of challenge and responsibility is important to success.  In Aon’s case the partnership with a nearby community college is also critical.  The truth is most financial service firms have functions that could be filled through apprenticeship, and there is growing interest. 

Combining college with apprenticeship isn’t for everyone, but about 40% of college undergraduates are balancing college with at least 30 hours of work a week.  For these students, “work” usually means a retail, food, or personal service job – not an entry level window into the career they are studying.  (See the New Normal). 

Apprenticeship RI envisions a world in which more of these same working, motivated, capable students get a chance to apprentice so their full-time work and education complement each other and add up to more than the sum of the work and classroom experiences in isolation.


The Making of a Modern-Day Apprentice