Hands-on learning, such as internships, apprenticeships and cooperative learning (co-ops), can help students explore their likes and dislikes, and better prepare for the world of work. But such opportunities are limited for some students. ASA supports programs and polices that increase access to these experiences for all students.

Internships provide valuable opportunity for high school and college students to try a career field, but limited availability of quality work, age restrictions, inability to earn school credit, lack of social connections, and no or limited pay can all curb the ability and/or inclination of students to pursue internships. During the college years, work-study opportunities are often poorly aligned with actual career interests and few higher education institutions have adopted a co-op model. Apprenticeships face similar hurdles. From the employer perspective, there may be little financial incentive to make an initial investment in apprenticeships and the administration can be burdensome. Meanwhile, for the individual there is a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the value of apprenticeships as a valid pathway to a rewarding, well-paying career.

American Student Assistance supports programs and policies that will expand hands-on and experiential learning for all students.

The Problem

Limited access to experiential education

Systemic barriers and lack of public understanding inhibit the expansion of valuable hands-on learning experiences like internships, co-ops and apprenticeships

Our Solution

Increase access to internships

Increase opportunities for paid or for-credit internships at the high school and college level through (1) financial incentives in the form of tax credits or grants for employers to offer internships (2) elimination of the government’s exemption for unpaid internships (3) changes to high school graduation requirements to count internships for credit (4) establishment of infrastructure/ intermediaries to facilitate high school internships (5) public/private partnerships that provide greater access to paid or for-credit internship opportunities

Our Solution

Change apprenticeship perceptions

(1) Increase state support for apprenticeship programs (2) Advocate for new federal and state dollars to support work-related expenses of apprenticeships that aren’t covered by current funding sources

Our Solution

Change requirements of work-study

Advocate for changes to federal work-study through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that would allow for real job experience and better align work opportunities with student career interest

Our Solution

Increase opportunity for cooperative learning

Increase the number of public state higher education institutions nationwide to adopt a cooperative (co-op) model

Our Work


We're Following

Jobs for the Future

ASA applauds the work Jobs for the Future is doing to expand apprenticeships. Learn More

National Skills Coalition

ASA appreciates the work National Skills Coalition is doing on work-based learning. Learn More

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