I hadn't heard of this program. It's a great idea. I teach at a state university. Many of my students aren't really interested in college even though they have the ability to do well there--they are just filling a seat to try to collect a diploma so they can get a job. A lot of those kids would be better off learning a trade: They could earn more than they likely will with their college degrees, they can choose work that can't be sent overseas (your plumbing or electric can't be repaired from a call center in India), and there is often the option to be one's own boss/run a small business. The demand is there: for example, the average age of linemen working for electric utilities is north of 50. Those jobs can pay $100k a year with OT and have great benefits, and the companies are scrambling to find young folks to backfill for the workers who will be retiring soon.
At the risk of nitpicking: Needing "a near 4.0" GPA isn't tougher to get into than Yale (mean Yale HS GPA=4.19). That's actually another reason this program is a great idea. University admissions have gotten ridiculously competitive, and graduating from college with a degree in History and a 2.3 GPA may not even justify the cost of attending. (I teach History--no disrespect intended at all.) My basement flooded and I lost power during each of the two recent hurricanes. Without good plumbers, electricians, utility linemen, etc., etc. life as we know it ain't possible.