Biden Outlines New Apprenticeship Consortia

Biden Outlines New Apprenticeship Consortia

April 7th, 2014 – Washington D.C. 

Vice President Biden outlined Monday the Obama administration’s plan to boost community college graduation rates by giving college credit for job-training apprenticeships.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges, Vice President Biden said apprenticeships provide “a pathway to the middle class” for working families and “a pipeline of skilled workers for employers,” and must be expanded.

The consortium will focus on building a system where people participating in apprenticeship programs can earn credit for the apprenticeship at community colleges.

“That’s a game change for a lot of people struggling to choose between going to work and going to college when they can do both,” Biden said.

As an example, Biden said apprentices learning to be electricians will be able to earn up to 60 credits through the new consortium.

Biden’s new push to help apprentices earn more credits at community colleges is a welcome addition to the apprenticeship system, Urban Institute Senior Fellow Bob Lerman said. But the real need is for more apprenticeships overall.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing — it doesn’t hurt to have an A.A. degree,” Lerman said. But more funding for apprenticeships is a much bigger, more important goal.

And completing an apprenticeship is often enough to launch a student on a desirable career path, Lerman noted.