Chances are, you’re probably one of the 11.51 million Americans each year who have attended college as a full-time student. You may even be one of the 4.1 million students who actually finished your degree and graduated.

Yep, you read that right!

On average, less than 30% of students leave higher education with a degree in hand. That leaves over 7 million students with not much to show for their time in college beyond a mountain of debt and a lifetime addiction to caffeine.

I know what you’re thinking though,

Isn’t college the best option for me if I want to be competitive in the job market?

While it’s true that a lot of jobs require specific degrees, higher education is not the only option. With the cost of a college degree and uncertainty in the job markets rising, there’s no better time to look into another time-tested and proven way to get the job of your dreams:


text graphic that says APPRENTICESHIP! over image of older mentor teaching young female apprentice with safety goggles on


Apprentice Nation audiobook by Ryan Craig cover image

In the Apprentice Nation audiobook, education and workforce expert Ryan Craig explores how a modern apprenticeship system will allow students and job seekers to jumpstart their careers by learning while they earn—ultimately leading to greater economic opportunity, workforce diversity, and geographic mobility.




Craig points out that this generations-old practice is,

a solution to the skills gap, … and the experience gap, and the best way to level the playing field.

Craig’s Apprentice Nation is an accessible blueprint for a country where young Americans of all backgrounds can launch careers in tech, healthcare, finance, and more—without losing four critical, career-building years and tens of thousands to college tuition and student loans.

But don’t just take his word for it! Other experts like Craig are banging the apprenticeship drum.


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Hans Meeder, Senior Fellow for Education and Workforce Innovation at YouScience, listened to Ryan’s new audiobook and had this to say about it:

Apprenticeship Nation by Ryan Craig is a fascinating book that provides a holistic look at the benefits and opportunities that apprenticeship can offer to millions of young Americans, helping them find personal career success, and also taking a direct attack on the systemic skills mismatches and shortages in the American economy.

Craig takes a provocative look at how apprenticeships (the ultimate working, earning and learning) could help millions of Americans move into skilled employment while completely avoiding student loan debt.

It’s true! You can find a high-paying, fulfilling career with an apprenticeship. What’s more, you can do that WITHOUT the burden of debt.

If it’s such a no-brainer, then why aren’t more people flocking to apprenticeships? As Craig points out, college “is at least $3,000 too high in nearly every state,” making it an impossible step for many lower-income career seekers. Meeder highlights one of Craig’s main points in Apprentice Nation to explain this:

…government rules and regulations have made it difficult for apprenticeships to develop and flourish in other fields like technology, health care, and business services.

However, there’s hope for this career path alternative!

Strides in apprenticeship initiatives in the UK, Australia, Germany, and elsewhere have reminded many American students and workers alike that this option exists and may be the better route for them. Audiobooks like Apprentice Nation, nonprofits like Apprenticeships for America, and self-assessments like YouScience’s Brightpath, offer resources and guidance for anyone curious about apprenticeships and how to better utilize ALL the marketable skills at their disposal!


Listen to a FREE sample of Apprentice Nation: How the “Earn and Learn” Alternative to Higher Education Will Create a Stronger and Fairer America >


Did you know audiobooks are an excellent way to educate yourself without taking more time out of your day?

Check out our full list of non-fiction titles to start learning on the go! >


Ryan Craig, author of audiobook Apprentice Nation
Ryan Craig is a managing director at Achieve Partners, an investment firm engineering the future of learning and earning, and a co-founder of Apprenticeships for America, a national nonprofit dedicated to scaling apprenticeships across the U.S. economy. He is also the author of College Disrupted and A New U, which was named a Wall Street Journal Book of the Year. His writing appears regularly in the Gap LetterForbes, and Inside Higher Education. He lives in California with his family.


Hans Meeder, Senior Fellow for Education and Workforce Innovation at YouScience
Hans Meeder is Senior Fellow for Education and Workforce Innovation at YouScience.  Hans was co-founder and President of the National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T), which merged with YouScience in 2022. Mr. Meeder served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education, among many other policy roles in Washington, DC.  Hans is the author of several books and online courses, including The Power and Promise of Pathways, the Pathways System Design Suite, the STEM Leader Guide, Career Connected Learning 101, and Pathways Leadership Essentials.