Trump signs order expanding labor apprenticeships

President Trump will sign an executive order Thursday created to expand apprenticeships to train people for millions of unfilled jobs.

President Trump also spoke about the need for a more robust apprenticeship program during his first full Cabinet meeting on Monday: "Apprenticeships are going to be a big, big factor in our country".

The White House says apprenticeships could match workers with millions of open jobs.

The National Restaurant Association and its educational foundation have been pushing for more love from the feds for apprenticeships and this week they got their wishes, when President Trump signed an executive order the NRA said both expands and streamlines the nation's apprenticeship programs.

The training also would give young workers an alternative to the "crushing debt" associated with a four-year college degree, he said.

Trump's proposed federal budget would cut job training programs by 40% and reduce other types of workforce training programs, such as financial aid for college students.

"We're here today to celebrate the dignity of work", Trump said before signing the order.

In order to achieve these goals, the president charges the Secretary of Labor-in consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Education-to consider proposing regulations "that promote the development of apprenticeship programs by third parties".

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

There's evidence of bipartisanship at least for the idea of apprenticeships.

Companies have long complained that they can't find trained people to fill highly technical jobs, and apprenticeship programs have sprung up around the country.

The budget calls for a 40 percent cut to the Labor Department's Wagner-Peyser Employment Service, which supports about 14 million job seekers annually and previous year helped nearly six million people find jobs.

Another complication: only about half of apprentices finish their multi-year programs, Lerman said.

"So we're empowering these companies, these unions, industry groups, federal agencies to go out and create new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens", Trump said. "Instead, apprentices earn while they learn", Trump said.

While announcing his executive order - Presidential Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America - the president said thanked his daughter, Ivanka, for her leadership on the matter.

Participants in some apprentice programs get on-the-job training while going to school, sometimes with companies footing the bill.

Editor's Note: This story was last updated at 9:43 include additional comments from President Donald Trump. The Executive Order will streamline the administrative process of the current apprenticeship program by shifting the certification from the Department of Labor to industry; encouraging apprenticeships in colleges, high schools and other entities; and most importantly will double funding for apprenticeship programs.

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.

But apprenticeships are just one slice of a much larger workforce development pie.

"And the president knows that apprenticeship programs offer the best way of reducing the skills gap", he said.

  • Zachary Reyes