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These factory workers get paid to go to school

Can we make apprenticeships great again?

Kimberly Mas is a senior producer at Vox video focused on science explainers.

This is the fifth episode in a six-part video series about the future of work. Follow the series at

In manufacturing, automation isn’t a far off, futuristic problem — it’s a present reality. Automation has allowed manufacturers to produce more products at a faster rate, with fewer human workers. The robots are here, but where are the people to manage them?

Automation raises the bar for entry-level work in factories. Now, a single worker is expected to possess a wide range of skills for positions that decades prior would have been more specialized. This makes it harder for employers to find employees that fit their increasing demands.

Building up a new workforce with the technical proficiency demanded is no small feat, but there may be a solution in an old idea: apprenticeships. Countries like Germany have developed successful apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction with practical experience. The duel-training program has been a source of envy for other countries around the world. Now, the United States is looking to expand the apprenticeships in a new way.

Watch the video above to learn more about how the US may train the workers of the future and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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