Trump to tout apprenticeships as way to fill jobs gap

Caroline Beck
June 23, 2017

An administration official said the "streamlined" structure would foster more "flexible" programs that fit the needs of businesses.

"We will be removing federal restrictions that have prevented many different industries from creating apprenticeship programs", he continued.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the former Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued the following statement in support of President Trump's executive order, which seeks to expand apprenticeships to train people for millions of unfilled jobs. The wide-ranging executive order is created to expand apprenticeships and promote effective workforce development programs while identifying ones that do not work in order to better utilize taxpayer resources.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2017.

The administration did not mention any new money Thursday, but sources said it plans to announce an allocation of up to $200 million, which would be more than double the $90 million for apprenticeships in this year's federal budget. "Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of four-year college degrees".

One controversial aspect of the executive order is the fact that Trump does not require apprenticeship programs to be registered with the DOL, which now sets program parameters and certifies them to make sure they're in compliance and provide quality training and education. Addressing questions about those proposed cuts during an appearance in the White House press briefing room, Acosta said the administration hopes to foster "private to private partnerships" on job training.

As of past year, 505,000 people held apprenticeships in the USA, according to Department of Labor data. Of the 146 million jobs in the United States, about 0.35 percent - or slightly more than a half-million - were filled by active apprentices in 2016.

Trump said the law was "one of the greatest catastrophes that our country has signed into law, and the victims are innocent, hardworking Americans".

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"We have to join forces, join hands, and join together to restore the American Dream for all people", said Trump.

"Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country", Trump said during his first-ever full Cabinet meeting Monday.

"The Secretary shall use available funding to promote apprenticeships, focusing in particular on expanding access to and participation in apprenticeships among students at accredited secondary and post secondary educational institutions, including community colleges; expanding the number of apprenticeships in sectors that do not now have sufficient apprenticeship opportunities; and expanding youth participation in apprenticeships", the executive order stated.

The order comes in the midst of a week that the Trump Administration has deemed "workforce development week".

The shortages for specifically trained workers cut across various job sectors, from construction trades to agriculture, manufacturing, information technology and health care. In addition, they receive little or no federal subsidies for their apprenticeship programs.

"Apprenticeships provide paid, relevant workplace experiences and opportunities to develop skills that employers value", it says. There also are questions about oversight of apprenticeship programs that begin and operate nearly completely under the control of the company.

The president has accepted a challenge from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff to create 5 million apprenticeships over five years. Senior Correspondent Mike Causey tells you what you need to know before you go.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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