One of the biggest obstacles to scaling up apprenticeships in the United States is employers’ reluctance to invest in the upfront costs of training workers who could take their skills elsewhere before those costs are recouped, an issue that has bedeviled work force development for generations.
Supporters of apprenticeships say expanding them would help young people more than proposals to cancel student debt or make college free put forth by Democratic presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“When you push through an academic-only approach, that’s going to disadvantage people who learn better by doing,” said Robert Lerman, a fellow at the Urban Institute who has researched apprenticeships around the world.
Although most apprenticeships are still in skilled trades, such as plumbing and electrical work, in the past two years more than 700 programs have been created in white-collar or “new collar” fields such as cybersecurity, financial services, information technology and health care, according to Labor Department data.
The desire to expand apprenticeships reflects a rare area of bipartisan agreement. “We would like to focus bipartisan efforts on modernizing the existing system,” said Mary Alice McCarthy, director of the Center on Education & Skills at New America.
Virtual Apprentice does just this. We bring traditional apprenticeship programs into Industry 4.0 with virtual training on untethered headsets, making training scalable, more affordable, portable and safe. Trainees can practice requisite job skills at any place and at any time, without the use of expensive equipment, or risk of personal injury. Virtual Apprentice is an innovation that enhances, supports and modernizes the existing apprentice system.