BOSTON (CBS NEWS) – There are 1.7 million Americans graduating from college this spring, and not only do many have challenging job prospects, but two-thirds will leave school with debt. That situation has lead some to take a different path.

Alfred Santana, 18, grew up in South Boston’s housing projects, and couldn’t afford college. But he has no regrets. “I feel very good. I feel very good. I feel I have my career, a good career ahead of myself and I feel like I might have a good life,” Santana said. He is one of nearly 400,000 apprentices in trades throughout the United States. He works at a sheet metal shop outside Boston. “Roughly, when I get out of my apprenticeship time as a fifth year, I’ll be making 50, 60-grand,” Santana said.

When he’s done, Santana will only be 22, around the same age as a college graduate. “It’s also nice not to have student loans,” Santana said.

Click Here To Read More From CBS News

Also Check Out: