Japan's Answer to the "Skills Gap"
This is worthy of imitation in the United States, and not just for boys. It would give students a clear career goal before finishing high school.
From the Washington Post article:
The skills gap that troubles Japan is tormenting the United States. Since 2000, the percentage of U.S. young adults ages 20 to 24 with jobs has fallen from 74 percent to 62 percent, a level not seen since the 1930s, according to a 2011 study by Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. It concluded that the "college for all" system that emerged in the United States after World War II is failing the majority of American youths.
By the time they reach their mid-20s, only about 40 percent of Americans earn an associate or bachelor's degree, census data show.
"We are leaving a lot of kids behind," said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. "High school in America is about preparing for a college degree that most young people will not get, and in the meantime, these kids are disconnected from anything that is real in the world of work."