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Pathways to Prosperity: Cleveland Can Learn From European Approach to Education, Training

Sharon Braat is glad she’s going to college in the Netherlands and not the U.S.

It’s not just the nearly-free tuition her country offers. It’s the practical and hands-on classes aimed at her career. In her case, it also includes real work for actual businesses while in school.

“Our system is better for preparing you for where you want to go,” she said. “You feel like you’re in a company… If you screw up, you can screw up big time. It’s the real world.” 

As The Plain Dealer learned on a recent visit to Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the countries of western Europe offer a different mindset about how education and job preparation should work than here in Cleveland. There, students start earlier, experience more, and dive deeper into career training.

Read the full special report from The Plain Dealer, supported by an EWA Reporting Fellowship.