Scott: Eighteen-year-old Alfred Santana from Boston says he couldn’t afford college. But he says he found a good alternative.
Alfred Santana: I feel very good. I feel very good. I feel I have my career, a good career ahead of myself and I fell like I might have a good life.
Scott: Santana is one of almost four hundred thousand apprentices across the country. An apprentice is someone being trained in a certain trade or skill. Alfred is learning how to work with sheet metal.
Apprentices, like those training with Boston’s Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 17, spend 200 hours in the classroom and 1,800 hours working for local companies. It takes five years, they get pay raises every year, and the union pays for the training. It doesn’t cost the apprentice a penny.
Alfred: Roughly, when I get out of my apprenticeship time as a fifth year, I’ll be making 50-60 grand.
Scott: That is a little more than the average salary of a college grad. And Santana will be about the same age. He says he will also be virtually debt free. Unlike the average grad, who owes about $25,000 in students loans and other expenses.
Alfred: It’s also nice not to have student loans.
Scott: Kevin Gill knows the importance of apprentices.
Kevin Gill: They’re the absolute future of our company.
Scott: His sheet metal shop makes air and heat ducts. And there, he employs 20 apprenctices and 100 fully qualified workers.
Kevin: We closely evaluate our apprentices. We identify the future foremen that come from our apprenticeship program.
Scott: And Alfred Santana? Well, he has some big plans for his future.
Alfred: I’d say about thirty years old, I’ll be getting a car, a house and a bunch of other stuff.
Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.