POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology, healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for "great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees."
The most common professions represented in apprenticeship programs include plumbers, electricians, carpenters and construction laborers who are assigned a mentor and are required to complete a "minimum amount of credit-hour equivalent learning." In Wisconsin, where Trump recently toured Waukesha County Technical College as a kickoff to his apprenticeship endeavor, the average median salary for students who completed the apprenticeship program in 2015 was $67,600.
Certain apprenticeship programs pay students while they receive on-the-job training and going to school. Despite this financial aid, only 0.35 percent of the 146 million jobs in the U.S. were filled by active apprentices in 2016, according to the Chicago Tribune. Also, only 50,000 people or less actually finished their apprenticeships in 2016. For students who are interested in "blue collar options" there are both general and specific trade and vocational college scholarships.
For some companies, apprenticeship programs are used as a "marketing tool to say everyone isn't cut out for a four-year college." If you have a trade skill, want to acquire one for a career in the trades, or want to pursue a non-traditional avenue, there are plenty of vocational scholarships to choose from. Whether you're looking to be an auto mechanic or cosmetologist, there are ample free college vocational scholarships to help foot your tuition bill.