Apprenticeships in America

                 Is it just me or do many things detrimental to our republic seem to make their way east from California? Confiscatory state income taxes, open borders, illegal immigrants from every conceivable country getting drivers’ licenses so they can vote and board airplanes with you, $ 15 per hour minimum wages that too often force businesses to shut their doors, rampant sanctuary cities protecting criminals, law suits against believers practicing their faiths, restrictions on parental involvement in public schools, gender fluidity and sex education for pre-schoolers, stiff gun control measures denying citizens their Constitutional Rights, oh, and Hollywood intellectuals, Representative Nancy Pelosi and Governor Jerry Brown. Need I say more?

               At the same time, many of the great contributions to this country come from Indiana:  Hoosier values, hard work, great farms, Indiana voters who put Trump over the top in Electoral College votes, and Vice President Mike Pence.  Go ahead, you can say it: “Thank-you Hoosiers.” Let me add one more here.  The chance to become the American model for “Apprenticeship education.”

               In June, President Trump signed an executive order on “Expanding Apprenticeships in America.”  What this executive order acknowledged was the growing concern that too many high school and college graduates in this country are not prepared to enter the workforce.  According to a recent AP study, about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years.  In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

               Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year. Or as Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, phrased it in a speech in Dallas, TX,  “The current crop of college graduates is the most credentialed and least prepared to work” that he had ever seen. He went on to argue that it takes most college graduates two years of on the job experience before they can begin to contribute to the bottom line.  What are missing are specific skills to do what they were hired to do.  Too many businesses hire just for the degree not capability.

               While Trump’s executive Order attempts to address this problem, it does so from a traditional big government perspective.  He charged the Department of Labor, in consultation with the Departments of Education and Commerce, to establish a registry of industry recognized apprenticeships, and…here is the bad part, to propose regulations promoting the development of apprenticeships by 3rd parties.   Although I like where our President is going with this idea, I prefer the private sector.

               Here in Indiana, we have an entrepreneurial approach to doing just what President Trump intends.  When you select me to become your Republican candidate for senator from the State of Indiana, I’d be happy to share it with the rest of the country and champion the idea to make Indiana the model for Apprenticeship education.  What exactly is that? Schooling individuals on specific industry and business related skills while linking them with paid employment by partners in the private sector.  It is called Apprentice University and was created by a business entrepreneur, Ron Brumbarger, CEO of Bitwise Solutions in Carmel, with no federal funds, no impeding federal regulations, no taxpayer financial support, and no need for federal controls.  That is what I would like to see going forward:  Entrepreneurs in education and business changing young lives and preparing them to enter the workforce.  Once again, Hoosiers can lead the way by leading by example and staying out from under the thumb of the federal government.

               Want more detailed information for yourself or your family? Feel free to contact my office at Mark@Markhurt.org or Ron Brumbarger at ron@apprentice.university.  This is an idea whose time has come.