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US_First_Technology_Challenge_student5_IMG_8846_agA recent blog post by Time cited that the current unemployment rate among 18- to 34-year-olds is approximately 7.8% and on the rise. There continues to be an overwhelming consensus, especially among large employers across the country, that the youth workforce is simply ill prepared for what it takes to get meaningful jobs, especially right out of college. They have a real lack of practical skills.

Matter of fact, a survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College found that more than 60% of employers say young applicants lack communication and interpersonal skills, and that they can't think critically and creatively, solve problems, or write well.

Digging a bit deeper into the Time article, realizing that most of you have probably heard all of this in news today already, the article's main point is that the government feels the same way. There's a significant push from the top down to help solve this problem. Legislative measures are in the works to entice employers across the country to offer apprenticeship programs in return for tax credits. Perfectly positive.

For all intensive purposes, an apprenticeship is an internship often applied more in trade fields, but certainly a great way to help younger employees get hired. Apprentices can learn important on-the-job skills right off the bat from real-world, hands-on learning.

That's where we come in. Of course, Winterline is not truly an apprenticeship program or an internship program for that matter, but we do offer the same benefits. Winterline is a gap year program that's all about learning real-world practical skills in a variety of different types of countries and work environments. Students traveling with Winterline will work in a tropical research facility, marine conservation in Costa Rica; work and sew in a garment factory in Cambodia; create a personal film in Bollywood Studios in India; learn hotel management and butlery in the Netherlands; entrepreneurship in Boston... and that's not all. Look at our itinerary.

{Learn practical life skills with Winterline. We're still enrolling for fall. Click to apply!}

And yes, I'm on the staff at Winterline, but I can tell you as a mother with teens, that there is so much satisfaction working for a gap year program that is helping fill that skills void for students. We are preparing them for a successful four years at college and a long-term career.

Winterline strongly believes in not only creating global citizens, but in creating well prepared global citizens that every employer will want and look to hire. Nice to see that the government strongly agrees in skill building, too. Backs us and affirms what we are doing!