Trump promises high paying jobs with new apprenticeship order

Gladys Abbott
June 20, 2017

President Trump continued his administration's efforts to put the American worker at the forefront of his agenda, by signing an executive order to help expand apprenticeships and vocational programs across the USA on Thursday. The executive order permits industry groups to create their own apprenticeship programs and submit them to the Department of Labor for review and funding. The order will expand money spent for apprenticeship grants to nearly $200 million annually from $90 million, according to the political news website.

Although the labor force participation is at Jimmy Carter-era lows, that can change if we equip young Americans with the skills they need to fill high-paying jobs that are now sitting vacant or being filled with imported talent.

"What resonates beyond the announced apprenticeship program is the need for companies we work with to fill many new types of jobs that will be in heavy demand, such as cyber, drone management, robotics management, etc., that are growing too quickly to wait for four-year STEM students to graduate or for older workers to go back to school", Brooks says.

Trumps says the goal is to rollback federal restrictions that have prevented some industries from creating apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships would give students a way to learn skills without the crippling debt of four-year colleges, and expand those opportunities to women, minorities and other populations underrepresented among the nation's roughly 505,000 apprentices.

Trump said the learn-and-earn arrangements are going to be "a big, big factor" in his effort to add jobs employers are having trouble filling.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who, introduced the revised version of the Perkins Act along with Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson said that he is "heartened" by the Administration's attempt to strengthen apprenticeship programs, although he did not work with the White House on the initiative.

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NPR reports that now there are more than 6 million jobs open in the USA that could benefit from an apprenticeship, but only a mere 500,000 such apprenticeships now exist. And in history, nobody has gotten rid of so many regulations as the Trump administration. Currently, half of the country's 1 million apprenticeships are "registered" with the U.S. Department of Labor. She also said it was important to implement these programs at the local-not federal-level because that allows businesses to work with community colleges to develop the appropriate curriculums.

The order creates a Department of Labor Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion and designates the Secretary of Labor as Chair and the secretaries of Commerce and Education as Vice-Chairs.

President Trump and his daughter Ivanka will join Gov. Scott Walker to highlight youth apprenticeship programs at Waukesha County Technical College. The Labor Department will also be responsible for approving the apprenticeship programs once they start getting proposed.

But Trump's 2018 budget - which Congress is unlikely to pass in full form - would reduce funding for job training programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2014, by 39%, shifting the majority of responsibility of states and employers. If you're really interested in promoting apprenticeships we have to invest in that skills training. "We just signed a big deal yesterday for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment and military equipment going to be made in this country, in our country, for other countries", he said.

The Trump administration is doing the right thing by helping to provide for alternatives to college. Add to that, news from NPR that only about a half-million of the nation's 146 million jobs were filled by apprentices a year ago, and the challenges of the funding issues crystallize. He said he recommended to the administration that all apprenticeships be registered, but Trump's order does not require it. Indeed, the president's proposal-which comes on the heels of his budget proposal that would gut job training programs-would make it easier for low-quality providers to access already limited federal funds.

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