U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), during a Wednesday Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee hearing, promoted the use of apprenticeship programs as an educational tool to provide high-paying jobs for individuals entering the workforce.
During the subcommittee hearing, the freshman senator spoke with Noel Ginsburg, founder and CEO of CareerWise, regarding the positive impact apprenticeship programs have had relating to increased retainability rates in the workforce.
Tuberville accredited his being elected to the U.S. Senate by way of his background in education and accessed the state of academics in America.
“I spent 40 years in education. I’m here today because of education,” said Tuberville. “I ran for the U.S. Senate, for the State of Alabama because the last 20 years, I’ve seen our education going in the wrong direction. Now, we’ve got the best education system in the world. We could be much better. For some reason, we won’t change. We won’t do the things that we need to do to make it better for the kids that are coming up.”
Alabama’s junior senator touched on the technological advancements which have opened the door for more educational opportunities for students to enter emerging fields of work.
“Now, we have cyber, we have computer science,” he added. “We have all those things going along with it. But the main thing that we need to do, in my perspective of watching over 40 years is what Ms. Curry said a little earlier: we’ve got to expose people to something that they want to do. Because when I got up every day after I graduated from college, and I went to work coaching and teaching, I loved every minute of it and enjoyed it. I think I did a pretty good job at it because I liked it, and that’s what we have to do with these kids nowadays.”
Tuberville continued, “When I ran, I talked to groups all across the state of Alabama home builders, road builders, bridge builders. ‘Coach, we can’t find people to work.’ Well, you better start educating your own because our education system doesn’t educate people anymore. We indoctrinate, we bring them in, and we don’t teach the things they need to teach to use their hands.”
Tuberville went on to outline how he believes apprenticeship programs can have a positive impact on students’ basic learning skills.
“It [apprenticeships] gives them [students] an opportunity to continue their education and really enjoy it. Probably our panel up here doesn’t really understand some of our education. If you look at the direction we’re headed in public schools as we speak today, half the kids cannot read over the sixth-grade reading level, and apprenticeships will teach them and encourage them to continue to learn to read, to learn to write, and do all those things,” Tuberville concluded.
Ginsburg agreed with the senator’s assessment of apprenticeship programs, stating that such programs can assist students in honing their abilities more efficiently than they can in a traditional classroom structure.
“Senator, you are right on,” said the CareerWise CEO. “You are hitting the nail on the head. What we are seeing with our apprentices that are not reading at grade level, sometimes many grade levels below is once they start an apprenticeship and they can see where that math is important, that reading is important, how you write an email or professional letter. They come up to grade level faster than they would in the classroom.”
Ginsburg concluded, “So, you’re a hundred percent right. And you’re also right — students when they find their passion like you did, like I was fortunate to do — it accelerates their life and the potential that they have as a young person and a contributing member of our country, of our society.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL