By Elizabeth Rich — January 28, 2008 1 min read
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor released numbers late last week from a longitudinal study that might make a high school principal shudder. The likelihood of a 20-year-old in the United States being employed and receiving some form of work training is reduced by almost half if that person is a high school dropout. While the United States is wringing its hands over how to keep its students in school and employable—especially in this tough economy—Britain’s Prime Minister Greg Brown has a plan for making his country and students more competitive.

Today’s UK newspapers—as well as a number of other media outlets in the U.S.—are abuzz over the news that three commercial companies—McDonald’s most notable among them—are now allowed to grant A-Levels, the equivalent of a high school diploma, to students based on completion of an apprenticeship program. Not unless you’re referring to the fast-food giant’s Hamburger University or its more recent offer to exchange happy meals for good grades

, might you use “academic” and “McDonald’s” in the same sentence. But before you choke on your Egg McMuffin, consider this: an apprenticeship at the Golden Arches would provide students with the opportunity to learn about human resources, customer services skills, and the corporate titan’s true genius—marketing.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.