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What's At Stake in President Trump's Order to Revamp Apprenticeship Programs

20 June 2017

President Trump continued his administration's efforts to put the American worker at the forefront of his agenda, by signing an executive order to help expand apprenticeships and vocational programs across the USA on Thursday.

The Trump administration released an executive order authorizing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to move forward with efforts to permit third parties-such as industry groups, trade associations, companies, and other nonprofit and for-profit providers-to certify Registered Apprenticeship programs.

President Donald Trump is giving businesses expanded authority to design their own apprenticeship programs in an executive order signed June 15.

White House officials have pointed to 6 million job openings across the United States-the highest level since 1980, it says-and the 8.4 percent U-6 unemployment rate as illustrative of the skills gap in action. "We're empowering these groups to create new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens".

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

The president said the on-the-job training and earn-as-you-learn programs would prepare students for many rewarding careers, including high-tech jobs operating state-of-the-art machinery.

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"While President Trump is signing an executive order pledging to support apprenticeship programs, the reality is that his 2018 budget will undermine our public workforce system".

NPR reports that now there are more than 6 million jobs open in the USA that could benefit from an apprenticeship, but only a mere 500,000 such apprenticeships now exist. The most recent federal government budget passed with about $90 million for apprenticeships, and Trump so far isn't proposing adding more.

The funding for Trump's plan would come from existing DOL job training funds, but critics point out that Trump's proposed 2018 budget would cut the DOL's training and employment services by 21%, according to Time, as well as other workforce programs.

Offering a federal tax credit for hiring new apprentices that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state apprenticeship agency. He went on to say that the United States is coming down very hard on the massive drug problem in this country.

The order creates a Department of Labor Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion and designates the Secretary of Labor as Chair and the secretaries of Commerce and Education as Vice-Chairs. Now, as part of a week-long apprenticeship push, he is visiting Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin Tuesday with his daughter, Ivanka, as well as Acosta and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Donald Trump, who turned a run on TV's The Apprentice into a winning presidential campaign, says America needs a stronger apprenticeship system.

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But Helper, now a professor at Case Western University, noted that how federal funds are spent on apprenticeship programs also matters.

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

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

Currently, there are 9 million unemployed Americans, yet 5 million jobs remain unfilled as many companies struggle to find qualified workers to fill available jobs.

More than half opt for a two- to three-year paid apprenticeship with a business, alongside part-time classes at a technical school.

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