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Three Magic Words: ‘No College Debt’

Average 2021-22 annual tuition for public, four-year colleges was $10,740 for state residents, and $27,560 for out-of-state residents, according to CollegeBoard data cited in Business Insider. Add to that an average of $11,950 for room and board, and some college students are left with hefty loans to repay before their career has even started. For others, college isn’t an option due to the expense.

Contrast that to apprentices in the glass and glazing trade, who can learn how to be a glazier while getting paid, offering them the opportunity to build a career without stacking up debt. It is this message that the NGA staff took to Washington, D.C., during the 2023 Glass & Glazing Advocacy Days. And it is this message that we, as an industry, need to share with the public.

Take the story of Martin Alvarado, who found the glazing trade as an apprentice in New Mexico. “[Apprenticeship] is well worth it… To be set for life and be able to pay a mortgage and do good for you and your family, it’s a good investment,” says the AGC New Mexico apprentice and Level 2 Glazier. The federal government thinks it’s a good investment, too, introducing the "Apprenticeship Building America" program last December to make $113 million in grant funding available to increase enrollment in Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

NGA is doing its part by encouraging the government to continue financially supporting apprenticeship programs as part of its advocacy efforts. You can do your part by participating in glazier apprenticeship programs and sharing how the industry has served you and can serve others. NGA developed a webpage to educate people about what a glazier is and does. Share it. Post it. Let’s make the words “no college debt” synonymous with “become a glazier.”