While many college students expect their future to involve crushing student loan debt and a job that doesn’t pay enough to cover the payments, a new public-private partnership in New Jersey seeks to help students avoid such a predicament — that is, if they don’t mind working with their hands.
The advanced manufacturing firm Eastern Millwork in Jersey City, N.J., has developed a partnership with the municipal government and two local colleges that will offer students a five-year combination apprenticeship-degree program. The program’s goal is to help students learn about engineering and manufacturing from both a technical and academic perspective.
The program involves attending class two days a week, while spending the other three working a variety of apprenticeship trades in the firm’s manufacturing plant. The students will receive tuition free of charge, and will also be paid for the work that they complete for Eastern Millwork. As an added bonus, students who complete the program and stay with the company will receive guaranteed salaries of $70,000 a year once they receive their bachelor’s degree.