President Trump talks health care upon arrival in Milwaukee

The U.S.' President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aiming to add 4.5 million new apprenticeships in the country over the next five years.

Before signing the EO, President Trump said the objective of the order will be to "remov [e] federal restrictions that have prevented many different industries from creating apprenticeship programs". The executive order doesn't refer to specific restrictions, but does order the Labor Department to create industry-recognized apprenticeship programs, which involves determining how third parties such as non-profit organizations and unions can provide recognition to apprenticeship programs.

"We're training people to have great jobs and high paying jobs, and we're here to celebrate the dignity of work", he said.

Trump accepted a challenge earlier this year from a CEO to create 5 million new apprenticeships.

The president has sold training programs as an affordable and secure alternative to a traditional four year degree.

This is very different from President Trump's proposed budget, which calls for a 36 percent cut to Labor Department job training programs overall.

White House Special Advisor Ivanka Trump has been leading the apprenticeship project with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

"There are now 6 million job openings in the United States - vacant jobs that can be filled", he said. These apprenticeship programs are important for the purposes of loading up young people with skills in the modern information age, all the while allowing them to avoid crushing student debt.

But at the Wisconsin event, the president also heard more broadly about vocational education. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 19-22, 2018, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). But the current administration's new executive order (EO) threatens these efforts by loosening the federal definition of apprenticeship programs.

The Republican governor said Trump is genuinely interested in filling this gap and not just bringing attention to the issues. Senior administration officials have said Trump was reluctant to spend more federal money on apprenticeships, so the boost would come from existing money, perhaps from the streamlining process.

The president was touring a Waukesha, Wis., technical college along with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced questions before the Senate Intelligence Committee on potential Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Acosta said Monday that the policy would revolve around encouraging more partnerships between business and schools rather than increasing the $90 million the federal government now devotes to apprenticeships. The credit would be available for up to three years per apprentice, and could be claimed once the individual has been employed for at least seven months.

Critics say Trump can't be promoting apprenticeships while he proposes cutting federal job training funding by as much as 40 percent — from $2.7 billion to $1.6 billion.

The White House officials emphasized that the president's apprenticeship program isn't a dig at university education.

Apprenticeships were a priority for the Obama Administration and in 2015, Obama awarded $175 million in apprenticeship grants - the first-ever programmatic funding for registered apprenticeships in the U.S.

  • Zachary Reyes