Several European nations have highly successful apprenticeship programs supported by their respective governments, including England, Switzerland and Germany.
In Germany nearly half of all young people are involved in apprenticeship programs. And a study by the Global Talent Competitiveness index, which was developed by global graduate business school INSEAD and released last year, ranks Switzerland as the No. 1 country in the world for workforce talent out of 103 countries surveyed, highlighted the Swiss' "thriving apprenticeship program."
Researchers at the Center for American Progress found that those who complete apprenticeships earn an additional $240,000 throughout their careers than those who don't.
However, only 0.2 percent, or 358,000 of the nation's workforce, are in the 21,000 registered apprenticeship programs in the U.S., according to data from the senators' offices.
Robert I. Lerman, American University professor, fellow at the Urban Institute and founder of the Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship, has studied the impact of apprenticeships extensively.
He believes the senators' initiative could help tackle unemployment, but it will need the support of state and federal government agencies.
"It's extremely important for federal or state to back it up … with extensive marketing to show companies why it's good in their own interests to develop apprenticeships," said Lerman. "This would take care of at least some of the education costs that are always a part of apprenticeships."
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