Quick question: What percentage of college graduates actually work in the field they have a degree in?

Go ahead, take a shot at it. 70 percent? 50 percent? Surely half of college graduates pay off all that time and expense with a job in the field they studied.

Try 27 percent. Yep, that’s the figure that was reported in the Washington Post from a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. So that means only about 1 in 4 degrees gets put to direct use – and that’s after spending an average of nearly $90,000 on a bachelor’s degree. Wow.

Now, compare that with the NWLETT apprenticeship program. First of all, the work you put in, and the (free) training you get, lead to the kind of well-paid job where you put to use exactly what you’ve learned.

Sounds good, right? You get paid while you work and learn, you get specific training for free, and at the end of the program you’re a skilled worker lined up for a successful career.

And here’s what might be the best part of all: Once you become a journeyman there’s a wide variety of specialty areas within the program, and you can request to work in the ones that interest you most.

Check out all the directions you can go within the NWLETT program:

Mason Tender/Hod Carrier – If you have an interest in masonry you can start here, helping a Stonemason by getting the site and materials ready to get the job done right. You’re helping the mason piece together a hands-on puzzle every day.

Concrete Worker – Working with concrete is both fascinating and rewarding. Learn the foundational skills of working with concrete, preparing the worksite as well and placing the concrete where it needs to be. This job is about providing the strength of what’s being built.

Asbestos Abatement/Hazardous Waste Worker – Talk about a valuable and respected skill – it takes specialized training and equipment to identify asbestos and other toxic materials, and you’ll play a crucial role in creating and maintaining safe environments.

Pipe Layer – Who doesn’t like to play in the mud? You’ll get the direct satisfaction of helping install drainage, water and sewer lines, including shoring, soil stabilization and more. Your work may not be visible when you’re done, but it’s critically important.

Highway/Asphalt Layer – You’ve probably been building roads since you had Hot Wheels; imagine being part of the team that’s laying down the real thing. There’s a science and an art to making a good road, and you’ll learn about both.

Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL) – It’s basically an in-depth course in soil science; you’ll control erosion on sites to prevent dirt and pollutants from getting into water, using sophisticated measuring tools and testing water quality.

Traffic Control – There’s so much more to traffic control than holding a flag; you’ll become proficient at reading, interpreting and drawing workzone plans, as well as setting up safety zones and traffic control strategies.

Demolition – If the phrase “break it and take it” gets your blood pumping, demolition may be the job for you. Use a variety of equipment to help perform demo on work sites, drawing satisfaction from getting rid of what’s in the way so something new can be built.

Tunnel Worker – Not everyone can work underground; if you’ve got what it takes to work in confined spaces, you’ll be a valuable asset to any project. Learn to install ventilation, concrete and rail systems, and perform maintenance on giant tunnel-boring machines.

With these kinds of choices, you’ll find something you really enjoy – and then actually get to do it as your career. Contact NWLETT to find out more.

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