There are 1.7 million Americans graduating from college each spring, and not only do many have challenging job prospects, but two-thirds will leave school with debt. Apprentices - like those at Boston's Sheet Metal Workers Union Local Seventeen training center - spend 200 hours in the classroom and 1,800 hours per year working for local companies. It takes five years. They get annual pay raises and the union pays for the training, so it doesn't cost them a penny.
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