Whitehouse Takes Action on Workforce Development

According to a Whitehouse release:

We need more and better apprenticeship programs. Many American workers are being left behind as current education and training programs fail to equip them with needed skills. Apprenticeships will not only keep jobs in America, but ensure that American workers are trained and hired to fill those jobs.

“We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers.” –President Donald J. Trump

  • Despite many available job vacancies, millions of American workers do not have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to thrive in a 21st century economy.
  • There are 6 million vacant jobs in the United States, the highest number since 1980.
  • According to a 2014 Georgetown University study, by 2020, some form of education or training beyond high school will be required for 65 percent of all jobs.
  • Instead of getting the skills needed to meet new opportunities, Americans are being left with a pile of debt and, in too many cases, no direct pathway to a stable job.
  • Total student loan debt in the United States is now over $1.4 trillion.
  • The average student loan debt, for students graduating with debt in the class of 2016, is over $30,000.
  • Of total aggregate student loan debt, over 11 percent was over 90 days delinquent or in default.
  • Only 11 percent of employers strongly agree that America’s institutions of higher education are teaching graduates the skills their companies need.
  • Many Federal job-training programs are falling short.
  • In fiscal year 2017, the Government funded 43 job-training programs across 13 agencies, totaling $16.7 billion, not counting Pell grants. However, many of these programs do not work and must be reformed.

Comprehensive training programs will provide the opportunity for Americans to gain skills needed to succeed and thrive as the economy grows.

  • President Trump recognizes the value of skill-focused education and is taking steps to create more options for Americans.
  • The June 15, 2017 Executive Order takes important steps to expand apprenticeships and improve job-training programs.
  • In response to the desire of third-party groups to create more flexible apprenticeship programs we are directing the Department of Labor (DOL) to allow companies, trade associations, and unions to develop their own “industry-recognized apprenticeship” guidelines, which DOL will review for quality and then approve.
  • The DOL is to use available funding to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeships are not currently widespread.
  • We new task force will recommend ways to promote apprenticeships.
  • All Federal agencies must review and evaluate the effectiveness of their job training programs, and consider how to best consolidate certain programs for increased accountability.
  • Expanding access to apprenticeships will provide American workers with more options and opportunities to get an affordable education and a well-paying job.
  • DOL data shows that over 90% of apprentices find employment after completing their program, and their average starting wage is $60,000 annually.
  • Graduates of apprenticeship programs see a $300,000 lifetime increase in earnings, without the burden of student loan debt.
  • Congress must act to make it easier for Americans to access education that is affordable, teaches relevant skills, and leads to good jobs.
  • Having a degree is not enough; Americans need an education that equips them with the tools to succeed.
  • Job training and higher education programs should be evaluated and reformed to ensure Federal dollars are available for Americans to spend on the courses, programs, and pathways that lead them toward a stable job and a higher paycheck.

Learn more about how ABC is building the people who build America at


Related reference:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recently issued a memorandum:

Expanding Apprenticeships in America

The Problem:

The United States must do more to help American workers obtain the education and skills they need to find good, stable jobs, and succeed in the workplace.  CEOs consistently report that they cannot find sufficient qualified employees to meet their needs.  Some facts include:

  • 95% of Business Roundtable CEOs surveyed report that finding talent was problematic. ď‚· 6 million vacant jobs in the United States, the highest level on record.
  • Manufacturing, IT and healthcare face particular shortages of skilled workers.
  • Too few women and minorities working in STEM fields.

The Future

Improving workforce development in the U.S. is critical to increasing labor force participation and GDP growth.

  • A highly skilled workforce is essential for America’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining business and investment.
  • Unemployment is at 4.3%, a 16-year low. Substantial additional growth requires an increase in labor force participation, which requires helping those outside the labor force develop better job skills.

An Important Solution:


An apprenticeship program is an arrangement that includes both a paid work component and an educational component.  Apprenticeship programs in other countries (e.g., Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) demonstrate effectiveness in providing an affordable path to good, stable jobs, especially among youth.

In the United States, apprenticeships have languished for decades (except in construction trades, where they have remained strong).  Apprenticeships represent only 0.3 percent of the workforce in the United States.

The benefits of apprenticeships are significant and measurable:

  • $60,000+ average starting salary for graduates of certified apprenticeship programs.
  • $300,000 increase in lifetime earnings for graduates of certified apprenticeships, over non-apprentices.
  • Apprenticeships allow workers to avoid the burden of student loan debt.


I ask that each Agency head support the Administration’s apprenticeship initiative by removing obstacles to apprenticeship growth that may be present in current regulations or practices.

I look forward to working with Secretary DeVos, and with each member of the Cabinet, on apprenticeship initiatives, including the implementation of future Executive actions to promote apprenticeships across America.