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Students who enrolled in an advanced manufacturing apprenticeship program in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System were significantly more likely than their peers to complete their program of study, according to a new report from Opportunity America and the Brookings Institution. Graduates of the apprenticeship program also substantially outearned their peers.

The research tracked students who enrolled between 2010-11 and 2016-17. It controlled for geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds while also tracking outcomes across gender, race and ethnicity.

The report found that roughly 80 percent of the manufacturing apprenticeship students completed their program, compared to 29 percent of other KCTCS students. And one year after completion, graduates of the apprenticeship program had median annual earnings of $59,164, compared with $36,379 for their peers. Three years after completion, the former apprentices were earning $89,360 compared to $41,085 for their peers. Graduates' reviews of the apprenticeships were overwhelmingly positive, the report found.

"Our principal recommendation for policymakers and employers and educators seeking to launch career and technical education programs: earn-and-learn training works, and the nation should redouble its efforts to take the model to scale," concluded the report's authors, Tamar Jacoby, Opportunity America's president, and Ron Haskins, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at Brookings.