From CTE Policy Watch – Recently, the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion met for this first time. President Trump issued an executive order earlier this year creating it, and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta chairs the group, while Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos serves as a co-chair. The group includes business leaders, educational institutions and industry groups.

According to Education Week, Sec. DeVos stressed that four-year degrees aren’t the only path to career success. She also urged the group to re-imagine apprenticeships, and said that working closely with industry – particularly at the regional level – is essential to improving the apprenticeship model in the United States. Sec. DeVos also raised the idea of a “higher education bubble,” and the importance of employers working together to address workforce development challenges.

Sec. Acosta, who is generally supportive of apprenticeships, threw cold water on the existing registered apprenticeship program administered by his department. According to Politico, he claimed that, “The registered apprenticeship program that already exists does not work.” Citing the fraction of the workforce who currently participate in the registered apprenticeship program, he promoted an executive order seeking to establish apprenticeship programs developed and monitored by entities outside the federal government.

Other discussions at the task force meeting reportedly included ways to combat the stigma of apprenticeships, and how career development professionals can better communicate to students the wide range of postsecondary options available to them. The meeting came during National Apprenticeship Week, which was first established by President Obama in 2015. ACTE actively supports apprenticeships, and Executive Director LeAnn Wilson has served on the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship.