If you're reading this and think that young adults should simply work their way through school with a summer job or forgo higher education entirely, know this: That is not how our economy works anymore.
The 114th Congress has an opportunity to fundamentally shift American life. To do so, though, they must overcome cynical calculations that have become too common when it comes to young people and politics.
Addressing the skills gap is vital to our economy, and small businesses are a big part of the solution. Small employers already support the steps needed to make a difference, such as apprenticeships, on-the-job training programs and more.
Apprenticeships are still sometimes seen as a novelty instrument and are also vastly underutilized. The reality is that apprenticeship models deserve far more respect. While they might be a little out of synch and disruptive, that is exactly what the system need.
While most mentoring organizations share these learning environment characteristics, we have profiled at least one for each to provide an example of how this framework is being currently practiced in the field.
This Labor Day, let's remember that hardworking men and women are the backbone of our country, and let's redouble our efforts to uphold our nation's great promise to them: that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it in America.
The Obama administration is now touting new programs to encourage apprenticeships. It has committed $2 billion to double apprenticeships (albeit from a low level) over the next four years. But these efforts will flounder if we do not rebalance our "mindset."
The value, and expense of education is a complex subject -- a subject which, particularly in our current economic climate, has been repeatedly addressed by people with more experience in, and knowledge of, higher education.
It seems crazy to me that a country should be governed by the least able and most parasitic and why the electorate don't demand that politicians should have at least had some experience of creating a profit-generating enterprise.
What employers require from the marketplace aligns neither with the skill-sets of workers from the "old economy" nor with what our educational institutions are creating in terms of the competencies and knowledge bases of their respective graduates.
Apprenticeships are a win-win: They provide workers with sturdy rungs on that ladder of opportunity and employers with the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses. And yet they've been an undervalued and underutilized tool in our nation's workforce development arsenal.
A new City Council proposal meant to solidify organized labor's role in local development projects will effectively bar minority- and women-owned businesses from competing for contracts and create new barriers to employment for many residents.
This is the phase in life in which we finally declare our independence and establish who we are. But for this second education in our lives, so critical to our future success, there are some powerful and essential lessons that we all can benefit from.
Beyond more focused EU spending is also the responsibility of business to help bring down youth unemployment by showing what they have to offer Europe in order to make the transition from school to work flow more smoothly.
The shift toward electronics and other high-tech products requires different facilities and skill sets than the U.S. employed in its manufacturing heyday. And as a country we need to portray manufacturing as an attractive, stable career.
It was amazing to see my students engaged, taking information they had learned in their apprenticeship programs and applying it to real life examples. Because of this apprenticeship, some students now look at the world in a whole new way.