#WVWorkz

Apprenticeships are a great way to enter a number of well-paying occupations in the manufacturing, construction, health care, and transportation industries.

An apprentice gains hands-on work experience in an occupation, while also taking classroom instruction. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by employers, labor unions and associations. Programs can last between one and six years and provide wage increases as you gain work experience. Minimum qualifications must be met to apply.

Like most other American high school students, Garret Morgan had it drummed into him constantly: Go to college. Get a bachelor's degree.

"All through my life it was, 'if you don't go to college you're going to end up on the streets,' " Morgan said. "Everybody's so gung-ho about going to college."

So he tried it for a while. Then he quit and started training as an ironworker, which is what he is doing on a weekday morning in a nondescript high-ceilinged building with a concrete floor in an industrial park near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Middle-skills jobs, those requiring more than high school but less than a four year degree, make up one-third of all jobs in the United States, have an average annual salary of more than $45,000, and are projected to remain in demand in the future.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting has been awarded a grant from American Graduate and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to investigate opportunities for careers outside of a four-year degree. 

American Graduate: Getting to Work

Public Media Initiative to Advance Education and Career Readiness