Trump signs EO to expand apprenticeship programme

Brunilde Fioravanti
Giugno 19, 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 US on Thursday.

"We will be removing federal restrictions that have prevented many different industries from creating apprenticeship programs", he continued.

The U.S. federal government spends $90 million a year on dedicated apprenticeship programs; accounting for both education and training, the German system costs $27 billion. Worker shortages are causing businesses to slow investment, the administration says. Mr. Trump is directing the government to review and streamline some 43 workforce programs across 13 agencies.

It describes the basis for apprenticeship programs, which are the focus of the White House's workforce development week. The officials spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity to preview Trump's order.

Replicating the German apprenticeship model in the US would require nothing short of a revolution.

The stop is part of Trump's push to boost jobs by increasing apprenticeships.

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

The Trump administration has said there is a need that can be met with a change in the American attitude towards vocational education and apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship system, which has been in place since the 1930s, was reinvigorated during former President Barack Obama's tenure.

"This skills gap is a particular challenge in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy: financial services, health care and information technology".

Additionally, critics argue Trump's executive order will likely not have adequate funding to succeed because the president has already pushed for slashing federal job training funding in half. In addition, it will expand access to apprenticeship programs to high schools and other entities, and most importantly, will double funding for apprenticeship programs, providing even more opportunities for all Americans to find a fulfilling career.

Trump's top aides have made it clear that he envisions a far wider reach for apprenticeships than now exists.

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. Filling millions more jobs through apprenticeships would require the government to massively ramp up its efforts. "In Germany you have a situation where you can get tax accounting apprenticeships" says Robert Lerman, a fellow at the Washington, DC-based think tank the Urban Institute, and the founder of the American Institute for Innovative Apprenticeship.

The President, his daughter and Secretary Acosta, have argued the training programs are affordable alternative opportunities to a four year college degree.

Fewer than 50,000 people - including 11,104 in the military - completed their apprenticeships in 2016, according to the Labour Department.

She also said she was troubled by the president's proposed cuts in other areas that some apprentices rely on.

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"The best anti-poverty, anti-crime, anti-violence program is a job", Durbin said.

"I would say that instead of less money, and I'm not going to say we need more in this environment, but I would say that when the unemployment rate is low it's when you get to people who may be harder to employ", she said.

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