Friday Roundup: Seattle Income Tax, Michigan’s Free-Tuition Guarantee, Apprenticeships

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Will Michigan’s Free-Tuition Guarantee Change the Game for Low-Income Students?

Michigan’s new program, like many similar efforts, is “last dollar,” meaning it covers the tuition that remains to be paid after other grants are applied to it. As a result, a student is less likely to have grant aid left over to cover other educational expenses, such as room and board.

…But critics of the program said that to truly benefit low-income students, Michigan would need to focus on improving the accessibility of the university, not just its affordability. Sara Goldrick-Rab, a higher-education policy and sociology professor at Temple University, said that tuition is not the real barrier to enrollment at institutions like Michigan, as it can be at community colleges.

Seattle Times: Income tax would cost up to $6 million per year to administer and enforce, analysis shows

The income tax on wealthy households proposed for Seattle would cost the city $10 million to $13 million to set up and $5 million to $6 million a year to administer and enforce, according to a City Hall analysis released this week.

The City Council is considering a 2 percent tax on annual income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Sen. Maria Cantwell: Cantwell, Collins Launch a Bill To Kickstart Apprenticeship

Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation to enhance America’s ability to train and educate its workers through registered apprenticeships and increase the competitiveness of our workers and businesses in the global marketplace. Apprenticeship programs are a tried and true model of workforce development, allowing workers to earn while they learn and companies to increase the skills of their workforce.

The Senators introduce their legislation as the White House is expected to unveil a series of announcements promoting apprenticeships.

White House: Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America

It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to provide more affordable pathways to secure, high paying jobs by promoting apprenticeships and effective workforce development programs, while easing the regulatory burden on such programs and reducing or eliminating taxpayer support for ineffective workforce development programs.

The Wall Street Journal (Hanushek): German-Style Apprenticeships Simply Can’t be Replicated

Some American policy makers have begun to see Germany’s approach—credited with helping it navigate the 2008 recession while keeping youth unemployment in the single digits—as the magic formula. But adapting the German system for the U.S. is little more than a dream.

Over half of young Germans enter apprenticeships, which can lead to certification in more than 300 different careers. Many are blue-collar jobs ranging from construction to baking, but apprenticeships also cover white-collar fields like information technology and engineering…

The largest problem of skills in the U.S. today isn’t a shortage of young workers with specific competencies. Instead it is a need for more general cognitive skills that give workers the ability to adapt to new circumstances and new jobs. In that area, American schools are not competitive with their international competitors—and more apprenticeships won’t help.