Excerpted from the CT Mirror:
“From 2020 to 2021, the Connecticut technical education system said participation in work-based learning programs — where students work part-time for school credit and pay — rose by 43% to more than 1,000 students across the system’s 17 schools. That far exceeded the department’s annual goal of 10% to 20% growth, according to Patricia King, who supervises the program.
Sikorsky’s “Career Pathways” program, as it’s known, is one of a growing number of work-based learning programs and apprenticeships that are seeing an upswing in interest in Connecticut.
According to the state labor department, there were almost 300 more companies employing apprentices in 2022 than there were in 2013. The number of apprentices fluctuated over that time period but has remained above 6,000 for the last six years — up from 4,618 in 2013.
In several industries, labor unions take the lead running apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.
Unions say the training provides a path to the middle class on par with a four-year college degree. A recent study from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, which focused on the construction sector, found that “outcomes for participants in joint labor-management (or union) apprenticeship programs rival those for college graduates.”
Stephen Herzenberg, an economist and executive director of the Keystone Research Center in Pennsylvania, says apprenticeship has been increasingly “in vogue” in the United States, in part because college education has become prohibitively expensive for many families.”
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters runs Sikorsky’s pre-apprenticeships. The students pay dues as part of participating, and they’re matched with mentors who they work with side-by-side for the duration of the “Career Pathways” program.
There’s a “family night” and an offsite “labor history day,” where the students learn about contract negotiating and take a class with union historian Karin Jones. At the end of the summer, the Teamsters hold a graduation ceremony.”
So, while students abandon the hubris and high debt of a 4-year degree, the question is, will they continue holding the socialist aims and ideals of the labor unions? The traditional university experience will fade, but we may be exchanging the pot for the kettle: unions, for now, remain as hotbeds of collectivist thought and votes.