There's an interesting article on the Good site concerning the topic of apprenticeship as an alternative to the standard US model of education.
When I think apprentice, I think of someone from the Middle Ages learning to shoe horses or weave fabric - certainly nothing that's applicable now. But after reading the short article, I realized that our friend's daughter, in France, is doing exactly this -- starting to learn a trade in a formal school, then working for a while in the field at an actual working restaurant (not one just set up for the experience), then going back to school to build on that knowledge. It's a challenge -- as the article points out, and as we thought when we heard about what she was doing, it is difficult for a young person to know what they'd like to do, let alone, whether they'd be any good at it. But as someone who's currently doing the math for a child to be able to go through college, apprenticeship has some obvious advantages, as well.