Are apprenticeships a wise alternative to college?

Last week, I wrote about a bill passing through the Iowa Legislature that would increase money for apprenticeship programs. The pitch is that apprenticeships can help solve a workforce gap in Iowa. That may be true, but one underlying theme in the bill that seemed to resonate with people I spoke with last week is apprenticeships are an alternative to college. As Gov. Terry Branstad noted in his statements in proposing the bill, through apprenticeships people can start a financially stable career without all of the student debt from college. I spoke to several people, including a State Sen. Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, and Tara Troester, who works with high school students on career planning at Cedar Rapids Metro. Both said more needs to be done to educate students about their career options, and the default should not just be to direct students to college. I will have a longer write up on this in the coming…