For thousands of years, before the proliferation of colleges and universities, learning primarily came at the feet of masters. From masons to blacksmiths, young novices would work with a mentor for many years before acquiring a level of skill necessary to work independently. Later, that former apprentice would take on an apprentice of his own, and continue the tradition.

For the most part, the tradition of apprenticeship has been lost, but some inspired individuals, like Shien-Ru Tsao of Project 116have recognized the value of apprenticeship as a means to help young people looking to learn a skill, and looking for a mentor.

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