President Trump took steps on Thursday to move forward with his populist agenda, including getting Americans back to work and finding alternatives to an expensive four-year college degree.
The President signed an executive order during an event on Apprenticeship and Workforce of Tomorrow initiatives to expand skill-based job training programs.
“We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers,” Trump said during the signing ceremony.
Taxpayers spend billions on education and workforce development programs, but they still fail to teach the required skills for Americans to get full-time jobs. Trump’s reforms would allow more people to get a skill-based apprentice job for a fraction of the expense.
The Executive Order creates more flexible apprenticeship programs and allows companies, trade associations, and unions to create their own “industry-recognized apprenticeship,” approved by the Department of Labor (DOL).
It creates an alternative for millennials looking for additional training after high school, who either can’t afford or have no desire to go to a traditional four-year college.
For many working-class and poorer Americans, these types of jobs would provide an opportunity to the middle-class and homeownership. According to the DOL, 90 percent of apprenticeships find full-time work after their program is over and the average starting wage is about $60,000.
Besides expanding access to apprenticeships, the executive order also demands that the Department of Education incorporate apprenticeship programs in both community colleges and four-year institutions. These will help train students in the skills they’ll need to get a job.
“This skills gap is a particular challenge in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy: financial services, health care and information technology,” Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said in a statement. “The skills gap also persists in other sectors. For example, there are 360,000 job vacancies in manufacturing. There are also 200,000 available construction jobs, and with President Donald Trump’s forthcoming investment in infrastructure, that number will, in all likelihood, increase substantially.”
The House is expected to help Trump’s efforts by passing the Perkins Act, which focuses on skill-based education sometime in the next few weeks.
Watch Trump’s signing ceremony below: