Congressman: How my apprenticeship in N.J. shaped my future

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 04:25:02 AM. Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J. 1st Dist., recognizes National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 13-19, 2017)
By Donald Norcross When I was a kid, I was always the one taking apart our bicycles just to see how they worked. I loved working with my hands. Many kids and teens today are probably just like me, but instead of helping these students develop trade skills, we instead dissuade them and push them toward a "one-size-fits-all" traditional four-year college. An apprenticeship program shaped my life - taking me from construction work to Congress. Now, as a member of the House of Representatives, I'm fighting to raise wages for hardworking American families and make sure there's a seat at the table for everyone.   I received "the other four-year degree." I was an electrician's apprentice and then worked for years installing and restoring power for New Jersey homes, businesses and industrial sites. When I was an apprentice, every spot in my program was spoken for - with a waiting list of hundreds more who wanted the same opportunity. Today, it concerns me to see a stigma surrounding apprenticeships in America. I also noticed it when first arrived in Congress. I found for some there was a lack of understanding about apprenticeships and the day-to-day needs of workers. During this year's National Apprenticeship Week, let's start breaking down that stigma. We should remember that our country needs electricians and computer programmers, just like we need doctors and lawyers. I recently returned from a bipartisan three-day Congressional study tour, where we saw how the thriving Swiss...Read more
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