Trump, working with Ivanka, to push expanded apprenticeship programs

Olive Rios
June 19, 2017

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to reduce barriers to apprenticeships, testing whether a system that has long delivered good-paying jobs to American construction workers might help other businesses bridge skills gaps.

The order reduces the United States government's role in starting and monitoring apprenticeship programs, Politico reported. Such eligible third parties could include companies, unions, joint labor-management organizations, trade and industry groups, and non-profit entities.

President Trump's executive order could open the floodgates for federal dollars to flow to so-called 'job training programs, ' like Trump University.

"We're here today to celebrate the dignity of work ... and the greatness of the American worker", said Trump ahead of signing the order.

President Trump appeared to commit in March to Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff's challenge at a White House CEO roundtable to "take a moonshot goal to create 5 million apprenticeships in the next five years".

Eric Haban, 35, started as a youth apprentice as a junior in high school and then completed a four-year program at Lakeshore Technical College, located in between Sheboygan and Manitowoc.

Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit that helps promote skills training and job opportunities for low-income people, supports apprenticeship programs that have the Labor Department's stamp of approval, says the group's president, Maria K. Flynn. The White House cites the fact that certified apprenticeship programs average a salary exceeding $60,000 per year and would provide a $300,000 increase in lifetime earnings for certified apprenticeship programs. In May, Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama donated $2 million to support summer job and apprenticeship programs in their hometown of Chicago.

Another complication is only about half of apprentices finish their multi-year programmes, Mr Lerman said.

The president signed the order at a ceremony surrounded by workers, as well as his daughter and adviser Ivanka, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

"Apprenticeship programs look like a win-win solution for employers, employees and society", he says, before adding that companies must play their part.

In addition, the bill would allow veterans to apply their previous training and experience to the required training and education hours.

"It can not be ignored that the president's proposed 2018 budget slashed funding to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and to adult education", Van Kleunen said.

Democratic lawmakers and a union leader said Trump's visit to tout apprenticeship programs is a hypocritical photo opportunity given his budget proposal would cut funding for worker training.

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

Volkswagen has touted apprenticeship programs at its Chattanooga manufacturing plant as a way to bridge the USA skilled labor gap.

"We have regulations on top of regulations and in history, nobody has gotten rid of so many regulations as the Trump administration, and that's one of the reasons you see all the jobs and companies kicking in", said Mr. Trump. But his own proposed budget would cut other job training programs that advocates say are necessary for this one to thrive.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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