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Two Year Break after the High School. Oh, and You Get Paid.

It's basically a Work-For-Food/College program. Or you can call it "Gap Years" between high school and college.

Photo of Niandong Wang

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In Israel,  every high school student will serve in the military for a number of years before they can start their college (with some exceptions).  All of Israel's nine public universities, and some of its colleges, are subsidized by the state, and students pay only a small part of the actual cost of tuition.

Now, US is not Israel and we are not sending all kids to the troops. And even our public universities - including my alma mater UC Berkeley -  are fighting the uphill battle that state funding is becoming lower and lower.

But why can't we encourage some 18-years-olds to apply for "Pre-College Work" programs that employers such as UBS, Google, Farmers Insurance, Airbnb, etc to fund and operate?

They can call them "college trainees" and they will receive full benefits and compensation. The only difference between a college trainee and an employee who is a college grad would be:  the trainee's paycheck will be deposited into an individual tax-free fund account that can only be used for higher education expenses. 

In another word,  the trainees work for the experience, save for the college, and at the end of the two-year trainee period, will have two great options: 1) convert to a full-time employee;  2) go to the college with substantial experience and decent savings.

I will be the first one to sign up this program for my high school teen if there's one by 2018. 

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Why do we think every high school grad has to go to the college right away?

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Photo of Thao Vo

I love your idea since it will benefits for students in both of practical working experience and saving for their college fee. However, I also considering about the standards or requirements in which we base on to choose the students for this program. Also, We also need to offer solutions for the companies in human resources and cost management as they may take into account these factors if the program applied.

Photo of Niandong Wang

Thao, thanks and you have a good point. Just as SAT is operated by the College Board, applicants for this trainee program could probably also go through a 3rd party (or third parties) for assessment, administration and basic skill training/orientation, so that all sizes of companies can use them without having to worry about additional cost/resources.

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