President Donald Trump is expected to expand apprenticeship programs as a focal point of his labor policy, aimed at filling a record level of open jobs and draw back Americans who have left the workforce.
The Wall Street Journal reported last weekend that the president will announce the initiative this week. Apprenticeships are an underused form of workforce training in the United States, compared with European countries, the newspaper said.
Nine of 10 Americans who complete apprentice training land a job with a starting salary of $60,000 a year, according to the Labor Department.
The administration is committed to “supporting working families and creating a pathway for them to have robust and successful careers,” Ivanka Trump said on Friday, according to the newspaper. “There has been a great focus on four-year higher education, and in reality, that is not the right path for everyone.”
Boat manufacturers — largely based in the United States — and boat dealerships have struggled to fill service and manufacturing positions.
At the American Boating Congress in May, Pamela Lendzion, of the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, met with an aide to Ivanka Trump to discuss the problem and urge apprenticeship programs — a conversation that was received very well, Lendzion said.
White House officials discussing the president’s goal son Friday gave few details on program changes or requests to Congress, the Wall Street Journal said.
They said the president will offer more details at some point this week — Trump is slated to visit a technical school in Wisconsin on Tuesday and will deliver a policy speech at the Labor Department on Wednesday.
Apprenticeship programs are typically partnerships between a school and an employer that the federal or state governments certify. Workers are trained for skills and provided with hands-on experience — something the boating industry has long said is lacking when workers emerge from tech programs.
Because workers are paid while they learn, the programs can attract younger Americans who are seeking to avoid student debt, as well as displaced older workers who need new skills but can’t attend years of college.
The Labor Department said there were more than 6 million job openings in April — the highest level recorded since the government started tracking the figure in 2000.