America is catching up with the 19th Century. Apprenticeships, the majority of Americans say, are more immediately valuable than college.


While we’re not talking about blacksmithing or railroad track laying, we are talking about the 19th Century approach of hands-on professional training for the economy of the 21st. From software code to robotics repair to medical technology and administration, some 69% of Americans told a recent Harris poll that learning a trade is a faster, more direct path to a job than classroom learning in a college or other higher education setting.


A noteworthy takeaway from the study, the sponsors say, is that a do not believe that completing an apprenticeship will limit one’s future employment options (71%); nor do they agree that earn-while-learning programs generally lead to a lower salary than occupations requiring a college degree (60%).


“Apprenticeships or earn and learn programs offer great value to job seekers because they get paid while learning a new vocation—available across a wide variety of occupations and industries,” said Richard Wahlquist, American Staffing Association president and chief executive officer, whose organization partnered with Harris on the poll. “U.S. businesses need to act now to launch work-based learning programs to address the widening skills gap and help attract and hire the best candidates in this tight labor market.”


Absolutely! But the get-ahead difference will still be a degree…after the training is complete and the earn while you learn path has led to the earning part. Supervisors, managers, administrators, executives, and entrepreneurs typically turn to higher education to earn higher wages. Particularly once they have begun to master a trade.


So, check out and and let those who offer professional training and educational programs know you are ready, willing and able to get in and get ahead.