In Washington, the most common conversation topic should be a simple one: jobs.
How do we create more of them? How do we prepare Americans for the jobs that are already available? How do we ensure those jobs provide a decent wage and good benefits?
In Congress, these conversations often lead to discussions on the importance of expanding early childhood education, strengthening our public schools, and making college more affordable. And to be sure, those investments are critical.
But let’s not forget about another straightforward, proven way to train Americans for well-paying jobs and lifelong careers: apprenticeships, sometimes called “the other four-year degree.”
According to the National Skills Coalition, there are 5.9 million job openings in the United States, and 6.6 million unemployed Americans. The skills gap is a major reason why these jobs continue to go unfilled, especially for those jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree. But apprenticeships can help address this.