Cary James spent four years getting a degree in mechanical engineering from Boston University. But after a few years of working in her field, she quit and became an electrician apprentice. “I spent quite a few years in a job I knew wasn’t for me,” James (l) said recently at a Center for American Progress briefing on apprenticeships. “It wasn’t related to my degree or what I wanted to do in life. I realized I needed to move away from a job and start looking for a career.” The Obama administration earlier this month proposed a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund as part of its 2017 budget proposal to fulfill the president’s 2014 pledge to double the number of apprentices in the United States before he leaves office. Apprenticeship is a work training strategy that mixes on-the-job experience with classroom instruction. James, a first year wireman apprentice with IBEW Local 26, attends biweekly classes to learn about the field, safe working practices and electrician etiquette. “Everyone has different ways of doing the same job,” said James. “Working with multiple people on the same type of task gives me the opportunity to see what works best for me and gives me ways to improve my craft.”
- adapted from a report by Tyler Kendall in MarketWatch; photo courtesy CAP
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