Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship

What is an apprenticeship?

The federal government defines an apprenticeship as “an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.”

Or put another way, an apprenticeship is an alternative path to beginning a career in a profession, says Aaron Olson, Chief Operating Officer of AON, which created an apprenticeship program in the Chicago area.

“In our case, this alternative is important. As a professional services firm with white collar professions, we would traditionally hire from four-year degree programs. An apprenticeship is an alternative to that,” he says. AON’s apprenticeship allows people to go to work while they complete an education program at a partner community college. “When they’ve completed the apprenticeship, they’ve done the equivalent of a four-year degree,” Olson says.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because not every company and industry is on board just yet, so you may have to do some digging to find an apprentice program that fits your interest. Monster currently has thousands of listings for an apprentice. Read on to find out some other reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship.

1. It’s an alternative foot in the door without four-year degree debt

Apprenticeship programs are not only free, but you actually also get paid while you’re working through them. Certain programs also fund some schooling or provide credit that you can put toward a degree should you decide to go back to school to finish a degree at some point.

Compare that to attending college and having to borrow money to do so while also not earning any income. The average student loan debt per borrower was $35,359 as of 2019, and the scarier part is that there’s no job guarantee upon graduation.

With an apprenticeship, a person does not have to take on debt, and they can try out an industry while getting a paycheck.

2. You get paid a real salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers who undergo apprenticeships have an average starting salary of more than $50,000, and earn $300,000 more, on average, than non-apprentices over the course of their careers.

At AON, apprentices are paid as full-time employees with full benefits, and at the completion of the two-year program, they’ll come out with a two-year associate degree. While they are an apprentice, they are paid less since the company is also subsidizing their schooling. 

3. It’s a legit career path

“Being able to start in a career that would otherwise have required a bachelor’s degree is a real benefit,” says Olson.

AON believes so strongly in apprenticeships that it started a network with 26 other companies called the Chicago Apprenticeship Network, and have collectively hired more than 540 apprentices. “That validates that across multiple companies that we understand and believe in these programs,” says Olson. “We’ve legitimized this as a career path.”

There’s also a big push at the federal level with more than 1,000 occupations registering apprenticeships with the Department of Labor. And, it’s not only in fields that people typically think of as a traditional apprenticeship, like becoming an electrician or painter. You could train in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy, for example. 

Furthermore, apprenticeships aren’t only for recent high school graduates. “When we started in the first year, we expected people right out of high school, but we did find folks further along in their careers who wanted to switch careers,” says Olson. “They have been really great for us.” 

4. It’s good for the economy, too

Apprenticeships could have a positive impact in filling in some of those skills gaps and helping organizations find qualified job candidates.

That’s probably part of the reason why the government is investing heavily in apprenticeships, with a $150 million in grants to support sector-based approaches to expand apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

At the company level, it’s a good investment as well. Even though AON doesn’t require that apprentices stay on beyond the two-year period (some apprenticeship programs might), they’ve found that there’s a high retention rate among apprentices, and they stay with the company longer than more traditional hires.

Find your path

Whether you don’t think college is the right choice for you, you don’t want to take on student loan debt, or you simply want to fast track your start into a new career, researching apprenticeships could prove to be a good move. Could you use some help getting started? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of apprenticeship programs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get apprenticeship alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. 

Source: Monster.com

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10 Skills Employers Look for from New Graduates

Below you’ll find the top 10 most sought-after attributes that hiring managers want from the class of 2020. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job.

1. Problem-solving skills

Nine in 10 employers (91.2%) want to see new college graduates tout excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of”—to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability. Thus, you’ll want to prepare anecdotes that paint you as a solution finder.

You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver, says Los Angeles-based career coach Nancy Karas. “Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge,” like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop, Karas says. Even better: Show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Ability to work in a team

It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to hog the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 86.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.

You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. “Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy,” says career coach Denise Dudley, author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.

3. Strong work ethic

You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that performing your role is more than just means to a paycheck—after all, a company stands for something beyond business and so should you. That’s why 80.4% of hiring managers want to see new hires demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show up on time, be engaged in your work, and act with integrity.

4. Analytical skills

One in eight hiring managers (79.4%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, meaning they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

5. Written communication skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 77.5% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.

You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume, advises Dawn Bugni, a professional resume writer in Atkinson, North Carolina. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. “A writing portfolio speaks for itself,” Bugni says.

6. Leadership skills

It’s a tall order: 72.5% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.

If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview.

Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills. “Glowing references can solidify a job offer,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, New Jersey, management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

7. Verbal communication skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers (69.6%) surveyed said good verbal communication skills are a must-have for new grads. Communication skills set the tone for how people perceive you and help you build relationships with co-workers.

Verbal communication prowess is best demonstrated during job interviews. Presenting answers to interview questions clearly goes a long way. You should also ask job interviewers open-ended questions to show that you’re engaged.

8. Initiative

Tied with verbal communication skills, 69.6% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation in a direct way or a time when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

9. Detail-oriented

According to the survey, 67.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language. As Monster’s resume expert Kim Isaacs puts it: “You want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.”

10. Technical skills

Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 65.7% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’re applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

Source: Monster.com

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How Can I Pay For School?

Besides deciding what college to attend, answering this question is perhaps the most important action you’ll take while preparing to pursue your degree. Paying for school—which includes opening the wallet for rising costs of tuition, books, supplies, housing, utilities, and transportation—requires significant forethought and creative puzzle-solving. It demands a rigorous search for grants, scholarships, loans, and other financial resources—a search that typically requires a great deal of time and patience.

Unigo exists to help make your path to financial ease a bit less treacherous. Through this page, you can explore more than $14B worth of scholarships, awards, and grants, including ones from Unigo, schools, privately-owned companies, and a host of other public, private, and other sources.

What Scholarships Do I Qualify For?

Soon-to-be students can qualify for free scholarships across a range of parameters. Merit—or a student’s academic or subject-specific achievement—is one popular measure. Another is a student’s athleticism or talent in a particular extracurricular activity such as music or art. Still other parameters include applicants’ intended majors, levels of community service, residencies in a particular state, minority statuses, and other qualifications.

Within these parameters exist numerous others for qualifying for scholarships. Ultimately, the best way to see if you’re qualified for a particular scholarship is to start searching! Or use our Scholarship Match to instantly find ones that are perfect for you. Millions of scholarships, a million times easier.

Here are just some of the many categories from which to choose:

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Gender and LGBTQ Identity Terms

Being in the LGBTQ community it is important for people to understand the meaning of gender identity and is used correctly. When it comes to identity terms trust the person who is using the terms in order to answer to any questions about terms.

gender identity – noun : the internal perception of an one’s gender, and how they label themselves, based on how much they align or don’t align with what they understand their options for gender to be. Common identity labels include man, woman, genderqueer, trans*, and more. Often confused with biological sex, or sex assigned at birth.

bisexual – adj. : 1 a person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to some males/men and females/women. 2 a person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to people of their gender and another gender. This attraction does not have to be equally split or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders or sexes an individual may be attracted to.

● Can simply be shortened to “bi.”

● Many people who recognize the limitations of a binary understanding of gender may still use the word bisexual as their sexual orientation label, this is often because many people are familiar with the term bisexual (while less are familiar to the term pansexual).

cisgender /“siss‐jendur”/ – adj. : a person whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity align (e.g., someone who was assigned male at birth and identifies as a man). A simple way to think about it is if a person is not transgender, they are cisgender. The word cisgender can also be shortened to “cis.”

● “Cis” is a latin prefix that means “on the same side [as]” or “on this side [of].”

gay – adj. : 1 individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. Can be used to refer to men who are attracted to other men, and can be applied to women as well. 2 An umbrella term used to refer to the queer community as a whole, or as an individual identity label for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual.

● “Gay” is a word that’s had many different meanings throughout time. In the 12th century is meant “happy,” in the 17th century it was more commonly used to mean “immoral” (describing a loose and pleasure‐seeking person), and by the 19th it meant a female prostitute (and a “gay man” was a guy who had sex with female prostitutes a lot). It wasn’t until the 20th century that it started to mean what it means today. Interesting, right?

genderqueer – adj. : 1 a gender identity label often used by people who do not identify with the binary of man/woman; 2 an umbrella term for many gender non‐conforming or non‐binary identities (e.g., agender, bigender, genderfluid).

● may combine aspects man and woman and other identities (bigender, pangender);

● not having a gender or identifying with a gender (genderless, agender);

● moving between genders (genderfluid);

● third gender or other‐gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.

homosexual – adj. & noun : a person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex/gender. This [medical] term is considered stigmatizing (particularly as a noun) due to its history as a category of mental illness, and is discouraged for common use (use gay or lesbian instead).

● Until 1973 “Homosexuality” was classified as a mental disorder in the DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is just one of the reasons that there are such heavy negative and clinical connotations with this term.

● There are different connotations to the word homosexual than there are to gay/lesbian individuals for both straight and queer people. There was a study done prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell about peoples’ feelings towards open queer service members. When asked, “How do you feel about open gay and lesbian service members,” there was about 65% support (at the time).” When the question was changed to, “How do you feel about open homosexual service members,” the same demographic of people being asked support drops over 20%.

intersex – adj. : term for a combination of chromosomes, gonads, hormones, internal sex organs, and genitals that differs from the two expected patterns of male or female. Formerly known as hermaphrodite (or hermaphroditic), but these terms are now outdated and derogatory.

● Often seen as a problematic condition when babies or young children are identified as intersex, it was for a long term considered an “emergency” and something that doctors moved to “fix” right away in a newborn child. There has been increasing advocacy and awareness brought to this issue and many individuals advocate that intersex individuals should be allowed to remain intersex past infancy and to not treat the condition as an issue or medical emergency.

lesbian – noun & adj. : women who are primarily attracted romantically, erotically, and/or emotionally to other women.

● The term lesbian is derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos and as such is sometimes considered a Eurocentric category that does not necessarily represent the identities of Black women and other non‐European ethnic groups.

● While many women use the term lesbian, many women also will describe themselves as gay, this is a personal choice. Many prefer the term gay because it is most often used as an adjective.

LGBTQ; GSM; DSG – abbreviations : shorthand or umbrella terms for all folks who have a non‐normative (or queer) gender or sexuality, there are many different initialisms people prefer. LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer and/or Questioning (sometimes people at a + at the end in an effort to be more inclusive); GSM is Gender and Sexual Minorities; DSG is Diverse Sexualities and Genders. Other options include the initialism GLBT or LGBT and the acronym QUILTBAG (Queer [or Questioning] Undecided Intersex Lesbian Trans* Bisexual Asexual [or Allied] and Gay [or Genderqueer]).

● There is no “correct” initialism or acronym — what is preferred varies by person, region, and often evolves over time.

● The efforts to represent more and more identities led to some folks describe the ever‐lengthening initialism as “Alphabet Soup,” which was part of the impetus for GSM and DSG.

pansexual – adj. : a person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions. Often shortened to “pan.”

queer – adj. : used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight. Also used to describe people who have a non‐normative gender identity, or as a political affiliation. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQ community. The term “queer” can often be use interchangeably with LGBTQ (e.g., “queer folks” instead of “LGBTQ folks”).

● If a person tells you they are not comfortable with you referring to them as queer, don’t. Always respect individual’s preferences when it comes to identity labels, particularly ones with troubled histories like this.

● Use the word queer only if you are comfortable explaining to others what it means, because some people feel uncomfortable with the word, it is best to know/feel comfortable explaining why you choose to use it if someone inquires.

trans*/transgender – adj. : 1 An umbrella term covering a range of identities that transgress socially defined gender norms. 2 A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that assigned at birth based on anatomical sex.

● Trans with an asterisk is often used in written forms (not spoken) to indicate that you are referring to the larger group nature of the term, and specifically including non‐binary identities, as well as transgender men (transmen) and transgender women (transwomen).

● Trans people can be straight, gay, bisexual, queer, or any other sexual orientation.

● Because sexuality labels (e.g., gay, straight, bi) are generally based on the relationship between the person’s gender and the genders they are attracted to, trans* sexuality can be defined in a couple of ways. Some people may choose to self‐identify as straight, gay, bi, lesbian, or pansexual (or others, using their gender identity as a basis), or they might describe their sexuality using other‐focused terms like gynesexual, androsexual, or skoliosexual (see full list for definitions for these terms.)

Source: The Safe Zone Project