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State wants to convince high school students to pursue apprenticeships

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new survey shows most Michigan high school students are not aware of a potential option after graduation.

A Michigan Talent Investment Agency survey found only 13% of high school students consider apprenticeships a good postsecondary career option.  

Roger Curtis is the director of Talent and Economic Development for the state of Michigan. He says, even among students who were aware of apprenticeship programs, most only associated them with construction jobs.

“There was incredibly little awareness that there are actually apprenticeships in finance, health care, IT-computer science, agriculture and many other fields." he said. “We have our work cut out for us.”

It’s not just teenagers. Parents are also part of the problem.

The survey found only 21% of parents think apprenticeships are good option for their children.

“We’ve just been so adamant to tell our kids, ’The only pathway for you is the four-year pathway,'” says Curtis. “We’ve ignored these other pathways and opportunities, great opportunities. I mean careers where you could start at $60-$70,000.”

Michigan has nearly 16,000 active apprentices who are earning while learning, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Curtis says apprenticeship programs can help solve labor shortages in some job fields in Michigan.  

The Michigan Apprenticeships Experience Sooner campaign website houses all Michigan apprenticeship-related programming information in a single location and is tailored to the needs of students and employers.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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