Earlier this summer, President Trump signed an Executive Order promoting apprenticeships as a strategy to address the skills gap. Apprenticeships have continued to be a hot topic this summer as some action begins to be taken related to the Executive Order. At a recent meeting, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta recently spoke on the progress, and below is an excerpt from his remarks:
We need to close the skills gap between the skills demanded by these open jobs and the skills offered by the American people. That is why the President signed this Executive Order on June 15th to expand apprenticeships to all sectors of our economy. The concept of demand-driven education has been enthusiastically received by private industry, educational institutions and state and local officials across the country. The CEOs of 180 major companies signed a joint letter in support of the Executive Order. I have spoken with dozens of CEOs across a number of industries, college and university presidents, unions, and industry groups. To a person, they are excited about apprenticeships and many have begun working on developing apprenticeship programs. We are currently evaluating nominations for the Apprenticeship Expansion Task Force. We received hundreds of submissions. We expect the Task Force to begin in September. It will advise the Administration on effective apprenticeship strategies for their industries. The Department of Labor is partnering with industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, joint labor-management organizations and so many others to help them design apprenticeship programs. Industry-recognized apprenticeships will teach workers skills that are transferrable within their industries, resulting in more job opportunities.
In addition, policymakers on Capitol Hill have taken an interest in apprenticeships as well. Just before adjourning for the summer, the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled “Outsmarting the Skills Gap.” The hearing examined possible changes to the Registered Apprenticeship program and how apprenticeships can benefit both workers and employers. The hearing featured a student in the Kentucky FAME program, which involves partnerships between industry and technical colleges around advanced manufacturing apprenticeships, as well as several employers.
For more details on the Administration’s apprenticeship work, you can visit https://www.dol.gov/