In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland, a country that is widely praised for its high quality technical teaching, as well as its apprenticeship programs, and observe how they prepare young people for college and career. I wanted to see, hear, and touch their programs, people and products. Why? Because as you know, when you’re engaged in transformational change, it’s critical to experience first hand the kinds of improvements you’re trying to make happen. While it’s true that ideal wholesale reform won’t exist in its entirety in any one place, there will be elements that can be reflected upon, learned from, and where appropriate, adapted.
I’m still reflecting on what I saw in Switzerland that we could incorporate in Linked Learning in the United States, but I’d like to share one element that impressed me greatly: Switzerland’s long standing system of youth apprenticeship, an approach that makes high skill and high wage employment accessible to very large percentages of the country’s young people.