President Donald Trump acted Thursday to demolish a bureaucratic infrastructure that he said needed to be removed to allow America’s companies to create apprenticeships that will provide jobs for millions.
To do so, he signed an executive order that will more than double the amount of money delegated to apprenticeship programs from $90 million to almost $200 million annually.
Trump also vowed to increase federal grants to support companies that launch apprenticeship programs in fields such as information technology, as well as more traditional areas like the construction trades. He said the money to support these apprenticeships would come from under-performing job training programs.
The president also explained that by removing the Department of Labor as the sole gatekeeper of apprenticeship programs, businesses, trade associations and labor unions can move faster to design programs that help unemployed Americans earn while they learn.
“We will be removing federal restrictions that have prevented many different industries from creating apprenticeship programs,” Trump said. “We have regulations on top of regulations. And in history, nobody has gotten rid of so many regulations at the Trump administration. And that’s one of the reasons that you see the jobs and the companies all kicking in so strongly.” he added.
Currently, apprenticeships must meet federal requirements, making the creation of new apprenticeship program a complex and complicated process.
However, a senior White House official told Politico that Trump envisions his new apprenticeship program operating with less restrictions from the Department of Labor.
“The Department of Labor to date has been very prescriptive and very restrictive on the apprenticeship programs, but the Department of Labor is not an expert as to various individual sectors and what the qualifications are,” the source said.
“So we’re going to let the industry put forth its proposals as to what should make up a high-quality apprenticeship program. But the Department of Labor still sits over and above it and still adjudicates it at the end of the day,” the official added.
Trump said apprenticeships can give companies the workers they need while helping Americans who do not yet have the skills employers require learn them so they can move into well-paying careers.
“Apprenticeships teach striving Americans the skills they need to operate incredible machines. And some of these machines are so intricate, so powerful, and, really — the word is — they are incredible. This is not the old days; this is new and computerized and complicated, and you really have to know what you’re doing. But they create amazing products. And to construct skyscrapers that touch the clouds. — I mean, you look at the equipment today, and just go back 10 years ago and 20 years ago, it’s from a different world, from a different planet. It’s incredible,” Trump said.
The president also touted the support of various CEOs for his plan.
“I’m also delighted to be here with CEOs of major companies who support our apprenticeship initiatives. And we had a tremendous number of the biggest CEOs in the world here yesterday. And we talked about this also and they are fully behind it, including our effort to help millions of talented young American women thrive and flourish in our economy.” he said.
Trump emphasized that his executive order encourages different groups to create apprenticeships.
“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. “Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees. Instead, apprentices earn while they learn — which is an expression we’re using: Earn while you learn,” he added.
He also explained why apprentices are vital to the future of the nation.
“Not only will our apprentices transform their lives, but they will also transform our lives in the truest sense. Today’s apprentices will construct the roads and bridges that move our citizens, they will bend the metal and steel that shape our cities, and they will pioneer the new technology that drives our commerce,” he said.
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