Apprenticeships are having a moment.

Youth employment rates are still abysmally low in the U.S. (for 16- to 19-year-olds, the unemployment rate is 17.9%, nearly three times the national rate) and college has never been pricier. Apprenticeships, which some have dubbed “the other four-year degree,” offer a low-cost way for young people to get jobs and an education without incurring loads of debt.

The better-looking, higher-earning sister of the internship, an apprenticeship matches workers up with employers who offer one to four years of job training. The average starting pay for apprentices is $15 an hour, double the federal minimum wage. At the end of a program, workers are rewarded with an industry-recognized certificate and, ideally, a full-time job offer.

Apprentices earn an average starting salary of $50,000 a year and go on to earn $300,000 more over their lifetime than those with just a high school diploma, according to the Department of Labor.

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