President Donald Trump is reducing the federal government’s role in apprenticeship training in a move the White House said is engineered to help workers find jobs.
On Thursday, the president signed an executive order removing the Labor Department from much of its traditional oversight role and allowing private groups such as unions and business associations to develop programs and submit them to the government for certification.
In announcing the move, the president noted that there are currently an estimated 6 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. — the highest number since 1980 and that the majority require training beyond high school
“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.
The order also boosts fedral grant money for apprenticehsips from $90 million a year to $200 million annually, according to published reports.
The Associated Builders and Contractors applauded the order, saying it’s a good first step toward filling the 500,000 available jobs in the construction industry.
“Associated Builders and Contractors looks forward to working with the secretaries of labor, commerce and education to implement the executive order and develop new, innovative and effective models to train an expanding American workforce,” said ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman. “With our industry in need of half a million workers today and even more in the future, we need to expand upon current apprenticeship methods that have left us with a worker shortage and embrace an all-of-the-above training approach to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce."
Critics however, say that the quality of such programs may suffer without government oversight, and spending more on apprenticeships will hurt other training programs without a boost in overall education funding.