Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Trump Signs Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities

Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin said this week she was happy President Trump was focusing on apprenticeships, but concerned that his budget cuts a billion dollars for other job-training programs.

Trump signed an executive order on Thursday to expand apprenticeship programs in an effort to close the skills gap.

LDI Industries always struggled with larger companies poaching its workers for slightly higher pay, but saw investing in apprenticeship programs as a way to attract and retain more workers, said John Lukas, the company's vice president of manufacturing.

Trumps says the goal is to rollback federal restrictions that have prevented some industries from creating apprenticeship programs. In one sense, Americans need to look at apprenticeships as a great option for students who want to make more money and develop a unique skill - a skill far more valuable than the lessons many college students have acquired in their art history and political science classes. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Trump's special adviser, daughter Ivanka Trump, have said this week that apprenticeship programs are a way to equip workers will the necessary training so these jobs don't remain unfilled.

According to a senior White House official quoted by Politico, "The Department of Labor to date has been very prescriptive and very restrictive on the apprenticeship programs, but the Department of Labor is not an expert as to various individual sectors and what the qualifications are".

President Donald Trump is making the case for more apprenticeships to match workers with millions of open jobs, invoking the namesake of his long-running reality television show. "We have regulations on top of regulations", Trump added. But they also said Trump's order would call on Congress to provide $100 million more for workforce development.

But the NRA is responsible for one of the relatively few existing apprenticeship programs and past year, the organization's educational foundation was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Labor to create the first ever federally registered hospitality sector apprenticeship program. Those programs would then be left to industry to design under broad standards from the Labor Department. "A report that former President Barack Obama's Commerce Department released in 2016 that "apprenticeships are not fully understood in the United States, especially" by employers, who tend to use apprentices for a few, hard-to-fill positions" but not as widely as they could.

The new executive order encourages federal agencies to help nongovernmental and noncollege organizations create apprenticeship programs that could be fast-tracked for federal registration status.

Programs must lead to an associate, bachelor's, professional, or graduate degree, last for at least two years and provide full credit toward a bachelor's degree, or last at least one academic year and culminate in a certificate or other "nondegree recognized credential" that "prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation".

That stop was created to spotlight the President's "Workforce Development Week".

Filling millions more jobs through apprenticeships would require the government to massively ramp up its efforts.

Despite the president's focus on the importance of job training and putting people back to work, he has proposed steep cuts in federal work-force programs, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, or WIOA, a collection of programs that help job seekers find work, education, and training.

"America must not only teach, but celebrate the skilled laborers that produce and maintain the world's greatest machines, buildings, products and infrastructure", said President Trump.

Another complication: only about half of apprentices finish their multi-year programs. The task force will also assess whether the job-training programs now in place are even effective.

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