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New study from Center for Public Education links apprenticeships to 21st century skills

The Center for Public Education (CPE), a research arm of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) announced today the release of A New Look at Apprenticeship: Linking School to 21st Century Skills, which examines apprenticeships, finding them to be an effective, key element in helping students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be successful after high school graduation.

“Schools constantly need to expose students to a variety of programs that ready them for college, the workplace and a successful community life,” said NSBA Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Gentzel. “While apprenticeships have had a long history of developing trade skills for young people, they should now be viewed for their role in building 21st century skills and narrowing the skilled labor gap in our ever-evolving technological world.” 

In its new report, CPE explores apprenticeships’ impact on developing workplace skills, finding that the apprenticeship model—career building and life-long learning—can be effective. CPE also found that modern apprenticeships have been shown to lower unemployment among youth, produce high-skilled workers who meet industry needs, and foster meaningful and lifelong learning.

The increasingly challenging and competitive job market of tomorrow requires educators and policymakers alike to focus on enhancing students’ educational opportunities. In examining the data from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), CPE suggest school districts, when developing apprenticeship programs and partnerships, consider the following:

  • Find ways to make school more relevant to the job market;
  • broaden the scope of career choices for students;
  • help establish a continuous pipeline of high-skilled workers to the job market;
  • consider partnerships with community colleges and local businesses; and
  • better link school learning to 21st century skills.

“Apprenticeship programs in the 21st century help students acquire not only occupational skills, but also communication and collaboration skills that employers want and need,” said Jinghong Cai, Ph.D. Research Analyst at the Center for Public Education and author of the report.

A New Look at Apprenticeship: Linking School to 21st Century Skills, by the Center for Public Education is available at http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/research/new-look-apprenticeship-linking-school-21st-century-skills

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