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Good News about Apprenticeships

President Trump signed an executive order last Thursday (June 15) significantly reducing federal oversight of apprenticeship programs that receive federal funds.  Good and good.  Or more precisely, less regulation will lead more businesses, unions, schools, and postsecondary institutions to participate in such programs.  And overwhelmingly they will do so responsibly, fiscally and in other ways, even with governmental officials demanding less paperwork than usual. One name that has come up frequently has been that of economist Robert I. Lerman, who has studied apprenticeships more insightfully, and advocated them more energetically, than any scholar I know.  In a 2013 paper, “Skill Development...

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What’s CTE? And It Increased High School Graduation Rates by HOW Much?

If I had to guess, there is a general sense among adults in general that high schools in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country currently offer many fewer shop classes then they used to.  They’re right if they think that. If I had to guess a second time, I would say people in general are less familiar with the rise of something called “Career and Technical Education,” which might be thought of as encompassing – and significantly adding to – the aims of old-time shop classes. My own aim here is to report on an important 2016 study that found, among other...

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Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Here’s the lament we hear constantly from employers in Greater Minnesota: “We can’t find a skilled workforce—or grow as a community—because our kids can’t wait to leave town as soon as they finish high school.” One Minnesota high school—Wright Technical Center in Buffalo—is tackling this challenge head-on. Wright Tech is a consortium of eight school districts in Wright and Sherburne Counties, including Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, Monticello, Delano, Maple Lake, Annandale, Big Lake, St. Michael-Albertville, and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. In 2015, Wright Tech launched a program called Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) using a model conceived by Illinois entrepreneur and educator Craig Lindvahl. Students in the program...

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An Impressive “Hand’s On, In-the-Seat” Program in Staples

Staples is 30 miles west of Brainerd in Minnesota Lake Country, hence the name Central Lakes College, with campuses in both cities. I spent an exceptionally profitable couple of hours at Staples’ two campuses last week when I was in town to speak about American Experiment’s new multi-year project “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” at a dinner meeting sponsored by a group called “Crossroads Conservatives” at a restaurant and bar called “Twisted Sisters” (really).  In truth, the room didn’t seem terribly twisted at all and the crowd of approximately 35-40 men and women, plus a few high school students, wasn’t...

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BMW’s Success with Germany’s Apprenticeship Model

American employers have a lot to learn from Germany’s apprenticeship model. At least, that’s what BMW’s success at its production facility in Spartanburg, S.C. suggests. BMW is the biggest car exporter in the U.S., and at Spartanburg — its largest plant in the world — it employs 9,000 people and trains 100 apprentices at any one time. Peter Wittig, Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., explained how the apprenticeship system works in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed: In Germany, half the graduates of high schools and junior high schools choose a track that combines training on the job with further education at...

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Center Launches Major New Education Program

Wednesday afternoon, American Experiment launched its "Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree" project with a kickoff event at the Minnesota History Center. The keynote speech was delivered by Nick Eberstadt, author of Men Without Work, and Kathy Kersten and Mitch Pearlstein laid out some of their plans for the project. [caption id="attachment_6303" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Nick Eberstadt, speaking art Wednesday's kickoff event[/caption] The event was well-attended despite heavy rain and traffic delays. Guests included educators, union representatives, corporate executives, employees of relevant state agencies, and others. The Star Tribune has a good report on the event: [T]he problem continues to grow in the state...

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