Letter to the editor | Consider on-the-job training

December 19, 2013 

Perhaps a solution to several current lack-of-employment problems could be solved by reviving the pre-18th century “apprenticeship”system: a legal process wherein a “master” in household and or small business offers a job and a contract to a high school graduate to work with him or her in the trade they know well and practice locally and in which the starting worker shows interest and natural abilities.

We all need local plumbers, carpenters, computer program fixer-uppers, cooks, bakers, electricians, etc.

Local and state governments could establish the rules, limits and fair treatment of the relationships and administer aid for formal programs, including fiscal assistance, tax incentives and publicity to assist in the start and follow-up help of successful apprenticeships.

Such a government-backed program would offer young — and even older — unskilled people looking for work a respectable way to learn how to earn a living without paying for more formal education skills and supply willing workers, learning from “masters” to provide low-cost help every household needs.

The actual legal rules of apprenticeship are searchable in legal and historical textbooks.

Art Ward, State College

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