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102: Ryan Craig – Apprenticeships for Skill Development and Economic Growth

In this episode, I speak with Ryan Craig, who brings a wealth of knowledge from the intersection of education and workforce development. Together, we tackle the pressing issue of America’s skilled labor gap, dissecting how apprenticeships serve as a robust answer to our education and economic concerns.

Ryan doesn’t hold back in sharing the raw stats on college outcomes and the transformative power of earn-and-learn models. His insights offer a refreshing perspective on building a workforce that is not just skilled, but also equitable and economically sound.

Our conversation is a deep dive into the mechanics of apprenticeships and why they’re the hidden heroes of career development. We’re not just talking theory here; Ryan provides a practical guide for anyone curious about how to get involved with apprenticeships, whether you’re a learner eager to jumpstart your career or an employer looking to invest in future talent.

This chat is an honest look at the work ahead of us, highlighting the successes of apprenticeship programs abroad and the potential they hold for the U.S. labor market. If you’ve ever wondered about the alternatives to traditional college paths or how to foster economic growth in tangible ways, this is the episode you won’t want to miss.

Key Takeaways

00:00 Revolutionizing Education and Workforce Skills

11:06 The Power of Apprenticeships

19:14 Expanding Apprenticeships Beyond Building Trades

25:27 Importance of Funding for Apprenticeships

Memorable Quotes

“An apprenticeship is a job, first and foremost, that doesn’t require you to have the specific skills or experience that you’re going to need in the job because that’s the point of the apprenticeship. You’re gaining the skills and experience as you go.”

“The odds are kind of against you. Now you can increase those odds by attending a selective or very selective college or university, which is hard to do. You can increase those odds if you’re wealthy and you’re not taking on debt, obviously, which will then expand the choices you can make post-graduation.”

“What automation has done to cybersecurity, I’m afraid generative AI is about to do to all the jobs across the economy… But that higher value work you won’t be able to do without some relevant experience, and so we’re going to see this experience gap that we’re already seeing turn into a chasm.”

Guest Resources

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryan-craig-b4617a80/

Website – https://www.achievepartners.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ryancraigap

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

0:00:00 – Ryan Craig
We need to find a revenue stream and a way to fund it and just to give you a sense, the UK at its peak was probably spending 5 billion pounds a year on apprenticeship, which, converted into dollars and relative to the size of our economy, is probably between 40 and 45 billion dollars a year. That’s a hundred times more than what we’re spending today on apprenticeship. And when they did it, it wasn’t the Department of Labor trying to, the Ministry of Labor providing grants, trying to pick winners.

0:00:32 – Speaker 2
Do you think money takes up more life space than it should? On this show, we discuss with and share stories from artists, authors, entrepreneurs and advisors about how they mindfully minimize the time and energy spent thinking about money. Join your host, jonathan Deyo, and learn how to put money in its place and get more out of life.

0:00:57 – Jonathan DeYoe
Hey, welcome back on this episode of the Mindful Money Podcast. I’m chatting with Ryan Craig Ryan is a managing director at Achieve Partners. He was formerly a managing director at University Ventures and he led the education and training sector at Warburg Pincus. Ryan’s commentary on education, work and workforce regularly appears in the Gap Letter, forbes and Inside Higher Education. He’s written multiple books discussing workforce, apprenticeships, digital jobs, earn and learn, cheap alternatives to college, the unbundling of college and a shift towards competency-based hiring. His most recent book, published in 2023, is the reason I wanted to have him on the show. It is Apprentice Nation how to Earn and Learn Alternative to Higher Education Will Create a Stronger and Fairer America. Ryan, welcome to the Mindful Money Podcast.

0:01:45 – Ryan Craig
Great to be here. Good to see you.

0:01:46 – Jonathan DeYoe
All right. So first, where do you call home and where are you connecting from?

0:01:50 – Ryan Craig
So I live in LA, my wife’s in the entertainment industry, but my firm’s in New York, so I’m sort of constantly going back and forth. But I’m in my home office today in LA.

0:02:01 – Jonathan DeYoe
So this is complete sideways veer here. But what is your wife doing in the entertainment industry? My son is at UCLA studying music.

0:02:08 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, she’s a longtime television writer, producer and she’s right now co-running a show on Hulu called the Handmaid’s Tale.

0:02:16 – Jonathan DeYoe
Oh, wow, I’ve seen it. That’s awesome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, incredible. So what did you learn about work, money, entrepreneurship when you were growing up? I’m just curious how this all starts.

0:02:28 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, well, I think my work if I come by it honestly, because my mother was a 40-year faculty member at a community college and my father was a entrepreneur businessman who started a bunch of different companies, so that’s really where I’ve made my career is trying to innovate in the higher education sector. What was your first job? Well, my very first job was probably I think it was scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I was able to leave after a month because I got a better job as a bus boy at a fancy restaurant, which was great, and I worked there all through high school and actually I think that informs a lot of my worldview, because I learned arguably more valuable skills from that paid work experience than I did, I think, from the academic coursework that I did in high school, and one thing I learned is that I didn’t want to be a waiter for the rest of my life.

So the value of higher education or pathways to good jobs or gateway jobs was impressed upon me.

0:03:34 – Jonathan DeYoe
Wow, I was also a busboy, so I totally get that. Was your first professional job academic, or did you have law or something like that in between?

0:03:43 – Ryan Craig
No, my first professional job was actually at McKinsey. I was a business analyst at McKinsey right after college, which is basically like a MBA that they’re paying you for, as opposed to you’re paying them. It was fascinating, so I learned a lot, but they definitely got their money’s worth from my work. And then I went back to law school for three years, which I considered a vacation after two years two hectic years at McKinsey.

0:04:07 – Jonathan DeYoe
My wife spent some time at Deloitte and so I’m familiar with the oh, we have to cancel all our plans because I’ve got to fly to India tomorrow to do this thing with a client right. It’s just pretty rough.

0:04:15 – Ryan Craig
So you are at the beck and call of your client, absolutely.

0:04:18 – Jonathan DeYoe
Absolutely so. There’s a lot of like really bad statistics around college graduation rates, employment, underemployment. Can you kind of just paint that background picture?

0:04:27 – Ryan Craig
Sure. By bad, I think you mean not bad data.

0:04:31 – Jonathan DeYoe
No great data. Negative data yeah, the data is good.

0:04:34 – Ryan Craig
So the student who decides to matriculate, the average student who decides to matriculate into a degree program at an accredited college and university, the odds that that student will actually complete a degree probably charitably 60% will complete. So 40% will enroll, will spend good money or take on debt in most cases and fail to complete. So you’ve got 60% who are completing. Of the 60% who complete, what percentage are getting good jobs? And the answer is maybe 60% are getting good jobs. 40% are graduating into underemployment, which means you’re making less money than you would like to make and you’re probably taking a job that didn’t require the degree or the investment of time and debt that you’ve just made. So if you do the math, it’s a minority of students who are achieving a positive outcome from their decision to enroll in a college or university. Right 40% are failing to complete and another 40% are failing to get a good job. So the odds are kind of against you. Now you can increase those odds by attending a selective or very selective college or university, which is hard to do. You can increase those odds if you’re wealthy and you’re not taking on debt, obviously, which will then expand the choices you can make post-graduation. You don’t need to worry about paying that debt right away. You can increase your odds by deciding to major in a STEM field so computer science, engineering consistently. It really doesn’t matter what kind of school you attend. If you can get an engineering degree or a computer science degree, you’re much more likely to do well out of school. But one big problem I want to talk about in the book is that those programs are more expensive for colleges and universities to deliver and so most artificially limit enrollment in those high value, the highest value programs. And so you have lots of young people first generation, low income, underrepresented who might hope to major and graduate with an engineering degree or computer science degree, who are then not admitted into the major and forced to pursue a less remunerative path like psychology or sociology.

The data is pretty clear that if you look at the top six most popular majors and then you look at the jobs that these graduates are getting, it’s been characterized as kind of a giant swirl. There’s no real correlation between the major and the job that you’re getting. You’re as likely to if you’re a business major or a psychology major. You’re as likely to get data analyst job as you are to get a digital marketing job. There’s very little connection and that’s the metaphor I use in the book is that colleges are kind of closed. They’re closed off from the real economy. They’re closed off in the sense that if you go back to visit your alma mater, odds are that the programs of study, the departments, will look almost identical to the way they looked when you attended or when your parents attended. Maybe they’ll have a data science degree, maybe there’ll be a cybersecurity master’s degree, but by and large unchanged.

0:07:52 – Jonathan DeYoe
And of course that’s shocking to me because I live in Berkeley and I’m right next to a Cal and all I see every single year is new buildings, new majors, new things, new AI labs, new biotech labs, and so I know that’s not the norm, but it seems-.

0:08:07 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, I mean yeah, this is maybe a bit of an outlier in that respect, but even so, you count the number of new programs and new majors, it’s a distinct minority, despite the fact that digital transformation has completely upended the economy and the jobs that students are trying to get.

0:08:23 – Jonathan DeYoe
You also talk about the disconnect between what they’re teaching and what employers want what employers want their employees to know. So is that disconnect also tied to that same issue?

0:08:32 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, look, I think on the whole, colleges and universities are doing as good a job as they’ve ever done at equipping young people with cognitive skills, critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills. The problem is that whereas a generation or two ago those were enough for most employers that in a degree say well we’ll hire you and you’ll learn everything you need to know Today.

That’s kind of the penny ante. But on top of that, employers are looking for specific digital skills, platform skills, business knowledge, and so you have the skills gap. But now, increasingly, you also have an experience gap where employers are asking for what used to be entry-level jobs, either implicitly or explicitly in the job description three, six, 12 months of relevant experience. And some of these job descriptions even say and internships don’t count. So they’re turning entry-level jobs into an oxymoron. Look at what’s happened to cybersecurity obviously a relatively new industry, but a decade ago someone with a modest technical background, a college graduate with a modest technical background, could get a job in a security operations center as a tier one analyst. So this is sort of a frontline of defense where alerts are coming in and you’re deciding which you can disregard, which you can solve yourself, which you need to elevate Today, which you can disregard, which you can solve yourself, which you need to elevate. Today that job has been automated away and the entry-level jobs in SOX are now what used to be the tier two analysts jobs that demand a CISSP certification, which is three to five years experience. So the idea of an entry-level job in cybersecurity.

It’s kind of an oxymoron now, and what automation has done to cybersecurity, I’m afraid generative AI is about to do to all the jobs across the economy. So I think back to my McKinsey job, where maybe I spent 30 hours a week building PowerPoint presentations that maybe no one ever looked at. Going forward, mckinsey or Deloitte are not going to want their analysts spending 30 hours a week on PowerPoint. You’ll spend two hours a week directing the AI to build the PowerPoints, and you’re going to be expected to spend the other 28 hours doing higher value client work or product work, whatever it may be. But that higher value work you won’t be able to do without some relevant experience, and so we’re going to see this experience gap that we’re already seeing turn into a chasm, and what that means for higher education is that colleges, universities anyone who cares about career launch is going to have to figure out a way to integrate real work experience into these educational pathways before they’re setting students loose on the job market. Otherwise, the underemployment rate is going to go from 40% to 80%.

0:11:04 – Jonathan DeYoe
And so this is apprenticeship, is the solution. So can you define apprenticeship?

0:11:08 – Ryan Craig
It’s probably one of the best things we’re writing about right.

Yeah, I think it’s the best solution. It’s kind of a silver bullet, because an apprenticeship is a job, first and foremost, that doesn’t require you to have the specific skills or experience that you’re going to need in the job, because that’s the point of the apprenticeship You’re gaining the skills and experience as you go, and one way they do that is you’re getting formal classroom training as part of the job while you’re working, you’re being paid and you’re actually learning, and then there’s actual on the job, more informal on the job training as well, plus mentoring. So that’s an apprenticeship.

An apprenticeship is a full-time job and it’s often confused with an internship, for example, which may be a job, may be unpaid but an internship is a sort of part-time work experience that a student will pursue during the course of his or her program of study, so during the term or over the summer, but you’re going to go back and finish your program. So that’s an internship, it’s a limited time, part-time job, whereas an apprenticeship is a job that you start and you may never end. You can start an apprenticeship and you end the apprenticeship and you just keep going as a regular old employee of the company. And there are lots of CEOs who started as apprentices, so it’s really a career launch pathway and so and extraordinarily effective. I mean what we found is that countries that have much more developed apprenticeship systems than we do, the return on investment, obviously for the apprentice is phenomenal because they’re not taking on financial risk, they’re not paying tuition, they’re being paid and they have a job that pays a living wage from the get-go.

0:12:46 – Jonathan DeYoe
I actually want to talk about the versus the rest of the world, but first, just first, is the point of the book? Is it policy shift? Is it culture shift? Are you saying to individuals, hey, you should probably look into apprenticeships? Who’s the book for and what’s your ultimate goal with it?

0:12:59 – Ryan Craig
That’s what my publisher asked me. I think it’s all of the above. I mean, I think it’s a little all of the above. I have in the back of the book, for example, a directory of apprenticeship programs where you can get a job as an apprentice, or your child can get a job as an apprentice tomorrow. So outside the construction trades, the goal is expanding apprenticeship across the economy to financial services, tech, healthcare, you name it.

But the problem is that there aren’t enough of them. Today we are way behind other countries in terms of scale. We have about half a million working apprentices today. That’s 0.3% of the workforce and that compares to sort of the giants of Central Europe in apprenticeship Germany, austria, switzerland, the famous apprenticeship countries they do about 15 times better. So instead of 0.3%, it’s three to four and a half percent of the workforce, and that’s probably not surprising. But what may be surprising is that countries like the UK, australia, france, canada, which a generation ago looked a lot like the US, a small apprenticeship sector 70% in the US of those apprentices are in the construction or building trades today. But today in those countries the UK, australia it’s very common to launch a career really in any industry with an apprenticeship, and that’s because they made very smart policy moves and actually funded apprenticeships.

0:14:20 – Jonathan DeYoe
So what are those moves? What are the things that need to shift from a policy standpoint?

0:14:24 – Ryan Craig
So the key thing to understand is that where apprenticeships thrive, whether it be in Germany or in the US in the building trades, they’re not thriving because employers in those countries are more benevolent or employers in the construction trades are more farsighted and willing to hire apprentices who, by definition, are going to be unproductive workers for a period of time right, investing in those apprentices and apprenticeship programs? No, they don’t. It’s not employers. They thrive because there are what we call intermediaries who are doing the heavy lifting, doing the work of setting up and running these programs for employers. According to Apprenticeships for America, which is this organization of apprenticeship providers in the US, there are about 10 things that an employer is not doing today that they would need to do if they wanted to run an apprenticeship program. They would need to develop training. They need to recruit the apprentice. They need to deliver the training. They need to build a mentoring program. They would need to develop training. They need to recruit the apprentice. They need to deliver the training. They need to build a mentoring program. They need to register the program. The hardest one is they need to be willing to hire and pay a worker who’s not gonna be productive for a period of time, which is sort of anathema to most employers. It really runs counter to the trend of kind of just-in-time labor. I only want to pay for labor if it’s productive, and if they’re not being productive I don’t want to pay for it.

So what we found is that in Germany, for example, the way that they’ve gotten to 15 times better than the US on apprenticeship is that it’s not employers setting up and running these programs. It’s these massive chambers of commerce that have existed in Germany for over 100 years that are required by law to set up and run these programs for the benefit of employers and apprentices. They do so in partnership with trade unions. Now the UK and Australia. When they looked at this 25 years ago, they said well, we don’t have this chamber of commerce infrastructure, but what we can do is we can incentivize companies and nonprofits to become apprenticeship intermediaries, to become apprenticeship service providers, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. So in the UK today, thanks to smart policy, there are this robust ecosystem of intermediaries. There are 1200 intermediaries running around the economy knocking on every employer’s door, asking if they would like the employer, if the employer would like them to come and set up and run an apprenticeship program for them and often it’s turnkey where all the employer needs to do is just put the apprentice on their payroll at a lower wage and the intermediary does everything else for the employer. So they make it much easier for an employer to say yes to an apprenticeship and yes to hiring apprentices, and that’s. The big difference is that in the US we have about 200 intermediaries in much smaller, much smaller scale, and that’s because we don’t fund it.

So just to give you a sense, as a country we spend over $500 billion a year of federal and state taxpayer dollars on colleges and universities. We spend less than one one-thousandth that amount on apprenticeships or earn and learn pathways. And if you compare an apprentice, a working apprentice, to a college student, you say well, how much public support are they each receiving? For every dollar of public support the apprentice receives, college student is receiving $50 of support. So I don’t know whether the rent ratio is one to one or two to one or 10 to one, but I can tell you that it shouldn’t be 50 to one or a thousand to one, and no other developed country is as imbalanced as we are on that. Every other developed country is an order of magnitude or two orders of magnitude higher on earn and learn than we are. So we have gone all in on college for all and we have not even come close to exploiting the potential of apprenticeship.

0:18:01 – Jonathan DeYoe
Is there anybody that’s against apprenticeships? Are there people saying, wow, apprenticeships are bad, or is it we just find ourselves?

0:18:07 – Ryan Craig
here. I spent much of the last four months on a book tour and sort of the worst I’ve got are college. When I speak at colleges and faculty members say, well, what about discovery and the serendipity that students benefit from in a college environment and so forth, and I’d say that’s great if the student can afford it. But if they’re not graduating or they’re graduating with debt or they’re going into underemployment, then there’s a cost. What cost? And the cost is too high right now. So I compare a.

You take a look at what your median college student case is and we’ve sort of went through that where your median is probably they graduate but they graduate with debt and are underemployed.

That’s your median outcome today compared to your. Worst case apprentice is someone who pursues an apprenticeship and decides maybe they don’t want to do that, but they’ve worked for a couple of years and they’ve earned money and they’ve demonstrated they can support themselves and they’ve probably learned quite a bit about their interests and capabilities and are probably better able to make a decision as to what post-secondary program they want to pursue. So that worst case apprentice is better than your median college case. So I think that’s fairly compelling. There’s others who I would say, are not against it, but people in the building and construction trades are quite happy to have apprenticeship as their own little sort of province at this point and the rules around registered apprenticeships the Department of Labor runs have been really focused on that sector and actually last month the department came out with 800 pages of new rules and regulations. That would perhaps improve things in the building trades but would significantly inhibit new apprenticeship creation across the economy in areas like tech and financial services.

0:19:48 – Jonathan DeYoe
What would they do? What would be the point of that?

0:19:50 – Ryan Craig
Just so they get more access to labor, then Safety, diversity, equity, inclusion, all good things, but I think that the people at the Department of Labor don’t understand that apprenticeships are jobs first and foremost. They’re not just training programs. These are the same people who oversee workforce development programs, training programs that are much lower return on investment and really a different genus than apprenticeships, because apprenticeships are jobs first and foremost and apprenticeship creation is really the question of how do you convince an employer to hire a worker who’s not going to be productive for a period of time, which is very different.

0:20:30 – Jonathan DeYoe
That’s a really important question. Do you think that there’s, like economic precursors, for example, a very tight labor market like we have? Why would we not be clamoring for this kind of a thing? So I have a growing, trained workforce.

0:20:44 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, look, I mean I think I would say that, with those couple of exceptions that I pointed out, 99% of people agree with the strategy and it’s just a question of tactics how we do it. We’ve seen a lot of progress, even over the last year, at the state level. California launched the first formula-based funding for apprenticeships, called the Apprenticeship Innovation Funding Program. Colorado is doing something similar now. So, and everyone is recognizing the central role that intermediaries play, and the question is what’s the best way to incentivize staffing companies and nonprofits and workforce boards to actually get into the business of becoming high intervention, turnkey apprenticeship service providers so that they can have this ecosystem, this robust ecosystem of service providers, circling around their local economies and convincing employers to say yes to apprenticeships? Because, yeah, employers are not going to apprenticeships Because, yeah, employers are not going to do it by themselves. We need intermediaries, and I think we’re now down to the level of tactics and then where the funding is going to come from. So, obviously, california’s $175 million in the apprenticeship innovation funding came from a huge surplus that they had a year ago. That’s going to be hard to sustain, but ultimately, our view is that the reason we still are in this sort of college for all mentality is simply a result of the fact that there just aren’t enough alternative places.

And I define an apprentice nation as one where we have as many large scale apprenticeship programs as we have colleges and universities, where there are as many apprentice jobs as there are places in freshman classes across the country and where we have thousands of new apprenticeship programs across every industry, so that a high school senior could sit down with her guidance counselor and look at the six or 12 universities that she might be interested in, but look at an equal number of apprenticeships or earn and learn pathways that she might be interested in, but look at an equal number of apprenticeships or earn and learn pathways that she might be interested in.

And maybe she wants to take the risk and pay tuition and take on debt, or maybe she doesn’t want to take that risk yet and she wants to work as an apprentice. And I think that changing that orthodoxy, that sort of we have this high school to college, to work, and many young people aren’t engaging in really any significant paid work until they’re about to graduate from college and, as we started the conversation, you know, paid work can be very beneficial to young people in lots of, lots of ways and if we can create these opportunities and it shouldn’t just be right well, I could go to college or I could work at Chipotle. We need more choices.

0:23:13 – Jonathan DeYoe
That was actually one of my questions is like what happens if you’re a high school student, you don’t go to college? Is that what happens? You work at Chipotle or Starbucks.

0:23:19 – Ryan Craig
Today you might be trying to work and make money as a social media influencer or playing e-sports, but yeah, other than that, it’s pretty much the frontline jobs.

One other thing I talk about in the book is that we’re seeing this phenomenon among employers with large frontline workforces, where they’re partnering with intermediaries like Guild Education, which is now beginning to build sort of custom skill-based pathways so that a Chipotle burrito maker could potentially become a data analyst at Chipotle. And those skill-based pathways are connected to the HRIS so that the hiring managers for those Data analyst jobs are aware when the frontline workers are coming through and they’re able to contact them and encourage them to apply for these gateway jobs in the organization. So that’s exciting too. So an apprentice nation is also one where, if you decide to take a job as a 18 or 19 year old, as a frontline worker, if you want, there are pathways. There are mobility pathways within the enterprise that allow you to earn and learn, and possibly, again, not an apprenticeship, because it’s a different job, right? You don’t just continue from burrito maker to data analyst, you have to apply for the different job, but there’s still that prospect of mobility within the enterprise.

0:24:41 – Jonathan DeYoe
So I think of apprenticeships and you mentioned this everyone thinks of construction trades, but you mentioned that list in the back of your books. Could you give it to the back of the book? Can you give us a just a short sample of what other industries or jobs are open to or currently have apprenticeships for people?

0:24:53 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, a lot of tech. So I mean my. The companies that we’ve helped launch apprenticeship programs in include software development, data analytics, cybersecurity, data analytics, cybersecurity, healthcare, it, salesforce Workday. We’ve even done sort of healthcare jobs helping newly graduated nurses start their careers, help certify behavioral healthcare professionals and placing them in schools, for example. So there’s lots of pathways to do it.

The challenge is that without the kind of funding that every other developed country provides, we’re limiting the scale and scope of apprenticeship. So, for example, multiverse, which is a company I talk about in the book, it’s a UK company. They’re a UK apprenticeship service provider. When they go to Barclays Bank and say, hey, let us launch an apprenticeship program for you, it’s turnkey for Barclays. As I said, all Barclays needs to do is put the Multiverse Apprentice on their payroll at the lower apprentice wage. Multiverse does everything else for Barclays and it doesn’t cost Barclays anything because Multiverse is the cost of the training and the incentive is provided by the state here. When multiverse tries to sell an apprenticeship program to Verizon, it’s the same model, but multiverse has to charge Verizon $15,000 per apprentice because there is no funding for it. So that needs to change. If we had that level of funding, we would have millions of additional apprenticeships.

0:26:27 – Jonathan DeYoe
It sounds like that’d be a perfect place for public-private partnership, like you’d have business people that are successful that want this thing to happen. They’re X industry and you’ve got government agencies that want this to happen, so why not?

0:26:41 – Ryan Craig
Well, I think it will. I do think we’re on the cusp of. I don’t think the folks in the Department of Labor are helping right now, but there is a apprenticeship is about to have a moment in this country, and I think that in five to 10 years, it’s going to be very common for young people to launch their careers, whether they are coming right out of high school, out of community college or even as college graduates, to start their careers as apprentices. And, as we talked about, this AI-driven experience gap is going to necessitate it. There may be no other way for you to gain that sort of work experience ahead of your real job than apprenticeship.

0:27:15 – Jonathan DeYoe
Yeah, I keep seeing the articles. Almost every week there’s an article. I’m a financial advisor, so every week AI is going to replace financial advisors. Ai is going to replace this, replace that, replace that. So it’s definitely coming. There’s a ton of noise out there about job security and fears about money and all this kind of stuff. So if you were in a room of high school students that aren’t necessarily college bound, what can they do to open the door to an apprenticeship right now? I mean, they can read the back, read your book, and they can find the list in the back.

0:27:40 – Ryan Craig
What do?

0:27:41 – Jonathan DeYoe
they do to move in that direction.

0:27:42 – Ryan Craig
Well, I look. I think that today again, we just have this capacity, this infrastructure. We need to build the apprenticeship infrastructure that other countries have built, that we don’t have yet. But I think the broader point is that work experience is good and that it’s more important to get work experience than, for example, to go on a $8,000 two-week volunteer program to save the Costa Rican rainforest for your college application Colleges. See through that right away anyway. They probably will find it much more interesting if you’re working.

0:28:13 – Jonathan DeYoe
Can you repeat that real quick? Repeat that real quick, because our college counselors were telling our kids that no work experience wasn’t as important. And our kids are working. So it’s like I didn’t believe that, but repeat that.

0:28:24 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, no, I think that we’ve jumped the shark on these sort of faux volunteer two-week trip to Costa Rica to save the Costa Rican rainforest and you can write your college essay about that. I talked to enough admissions people to know that they’ve had enough of that.

They would like students, applicants with real experience who can talk about real world issues that they’ve encountered. And I can tell you, I counted a heck who can talk about real world issues that they’ve encountered. And I can tell you, I counted a heck of a lot of real world issues as a busboy, as a waiter. So I think that we’re undervaluing that. And if so and then you know, if you’re going to go to college right out of high school, make sure you go to a place where they either have a formal internship program, a co-op program like Northeastern or Drexel, or at least a work integrated learning program where you know you’re going to get multiple relevant infield work experiences before you graduate. And so lots of colleges are doing that. Many are not, many still have their heads in the sand, but I think that’s important as well.

0:29:24 – Jonathan DeYoe
So I know you said we’re sort of on the cusp of some policy changes. Labor department’s not helping. What are some few things that say Congress could do or somebody could do? That would actually smooth the path, make this easier, make it come about faster.

0:29:36 – Ryan Craig
Well, I think the biggest thing is from a policy standpoint is apprenticeship has been lumped in with, as I was saying, all of these ineffective like job core, where we spend over a billion dollars a year on programs that this job training program that doesn’t get people jobs. So it’s what I call train and pray and it’s not working. Apprenticeship is different. No other country funds apprenticeship out of the same bucket as they use to fund these short, ineffective workforce development programs. Different it’s not a training program, it’s a job.

First we need to think about it and fund it differently. So that’s the first thing we need to find a revenue stream and a way to fund it. And just to give you a sense, the UK at its peak was probably spending 5 billion pounds a year on apprenticeship, which, converted into dollars and relative to the size of our economy, is probably between 40 and 45 billion dollars a year. That’s 100 times more than what we’re spending today on apprenticeship. And when they did it, it wasn’t the Department of Labor trying to the Ministry of Labor providing grants and trying to pick winners, it was formula-based funding so big staffing companies could know, that they could get into the game and build apprenticeship service provider businesses and that’s exactly what they did and become those intermediaries to build that apprenticeship infrastructure that they now have.

So that’s the key, that’s the message we’re trying to get across and, again, haven’t had much disagreement around that.

0:31:00 – Jonathan DeYoe
Just a matter of time. What is just last question? I want to go back before I go back to something personal what is the ROI?

0:31:10 – Ryan Craig
You put in $, hundred dollars, what do you get out? Well, I mean, there’ve been incredible studies that it’s like out of Washington state, like 27 to one or 15 to one, or nine to one. I mean it’s very strong. It’s very strong, I mean, obviously, the methodology of these studies as like what are you comparing it to what’s the control group and so forth? But there’s no question that investing in apprenticeships is a totally different kettle of fish than investing in sort of any other workforce development strategy.

0:31:33 – Jonathan DeYoe
Well, I look forward to seeing it come around here in the next five years, maybe.

0:31:37 – Speaker 2
Yeah it’s coming, yeah, it’s coming. Patience and time.

0:31:40 – Jonathan DeYoe
Yeah, A couple of personal things. I don’t know if you listen to the podcast at all, but I always ask one of these. You’ll feel like zingers what was the last thing you changed your mind about? Oh, I changed my mind all the time. That’s healthy.

0:31:51 – Ryan Craig
That’s what we like to hear my colleagues my firm say I have. Ryan has strong beliefs, weakly held. I take strong positions but I can be convinced at the drop of a hat about things.

0:32:10 – Jonathan DeYoe
Yeah, I do not have a monopoly on wisdom or experience or anything. I am very susceptible to a good argument, so that’s great, that’s great. Can you name a place that you visited that had a huge impact and what was the impact?

0:32:16 – Ryan Craig
Wow Place that I visited in. Well, yeah, so I’m actually I’m headed next week to. I’m from Canada originally and never been to the Quebec city winter carnival, which is sort of famous in Canada for its ice and snow activities, and raising my kids up here in LA with my wife, that’s one thing I regret. So we’re heading back to Quebec City, which is my whole education, actually through high school, was in French French immersion program so I’m looking forward to impressing my kids with my awful Quebecois accent.

0:32:49 – Jonathan DeYoe
Well, I hope you still retain that French.

0:32:51 – Ryan Craig
Yeah, well, the vocabulary is hard, but it will come back. I host.

0:32:55 – Jonathan DeYoe
My other podcast is Mindful Wealth, and I host that with a woman from Montreal and we she breaks off into French constantly and I’m like I have no idea what you’re saying, but appreciate that.

0:33:04 – Ryan Craig
So when I got to college and I began taking some French literature classes. I had a professor who said where did you learn French like that? You speak like you have a hockey puck in your mouth.

0:33:14 – Jonathan DeYoe
Thank you, sir Ryan. Thanks very much for coming on and I hope everyone goes out and picks up the book, especially if you are curious about apprenticeships.

0:33:22 – Ryan Craig
Jonathan, this is great questions. Thank you, you’re welcome.

0:33:37 – Speaker 2
Thanks, jonathan. This is great questions. Thankoney, be sure to follow and subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts and if you’re enjoying the content and getting value from these episodes, please leave us a rating and review at ratethispodcastcom. Forward slash mindfulmoney. We’ll be sure to read those out on future episodes.

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