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How Apprenticeships ‘Can Bridge The Employment Gap For Workers Without’ College Degrees

Published Sunday, August 29, 2021
by Paul Solman/PBS
How Apprenticeships ‘Can Bridge The Employment Gap For Workers Without’ College Degrees

Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, millions of lost jobs in the U.S. are not filled yet.

While there are reports of labor shortages in many sectors, a large percentage of Workers say they are looking for a new job.

For some without a Bachelor's Degree, job prospects were bleak even before the pandemic.

As part of PBS’s Work Shift series, Paul Solman looks at a program that’s offering better opportunities:

Paul Solman: Adquena Faine's last job before the pandemic, driving for Uber and Lyft in Virginia.

Adquena Faine: I was driving so much, I would lay down and try to take a nap or go to sleep and I still felt the vibrations of the car.

Paul Solman: No time or money to finish college, barely able to feed her daughter and pay for a hotel room after foreclosure on their home, food for herself.

Adquena Faine: Before I got on the road to drive, I would stop and forage in the woods or like on the side streets.

Paul Solman: You were actually foraging for food at some point?  I have never heard that before.

Adquena Faine: People will stop and ask, what are you doing?  And I'm like, oh, nothing, because I don't want anybody to start coming to pick my food.

Paul Solman: In Louisiana, Jennifer Burgess went straight from high school to dog training.

Jennifer Burgess: For 15 years, I have actually trained over 10,000 dogs.

Paul Solman: And so how much money did you make there?

Jennifer Burgess: On my best year ever, maybe 28.

Paul Solman: Twenty eight thousand dollars?

Jennifer Burgess: My best year ever.

Paul Solman: Mariana Perez was 20 when she emigrated from Mexico in 2005, without a high school degree or even any English, spent nine years working in a North Carolina nail salon.

Mariana Perez: I used to work 60 to 70 hours a week.

Paul Solman: Sixty to 70?

Mariana Perez: Yes. I had no benefits. We don't have any vacation pay. So, if you don't work, you don't earn money.

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