Trump administration order threatens quality apprenticeships for NC workers

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered more money and a bigger role for private companies in designing apprenticeship programs meant to fill some of the 6 million jobs now open in the U.S.

The Executive Order will streamline the administrative process of the current apprenticeship program by shifting the certification from the Department of Labor to industry; encouraging apprenticeships in colleges, high schools and other entities; and most importantly will double funding for apprenticeship programs.

The measure directs the Labor Department to draft new rules allowing companies, industry groups and unions to create and certify their own programs, which would then be approved by the department.

The order creates a task force to recommend ways to promote apprenticeships and require all federal agencies to evaluate their training programs - one official said that was "43 separate work force programs that are spread across 13 agencies that total $16.7 billion a year" - and consider how to consolidate the programs.

Companies have long complained that they can't find trained people to fill highly technical jobs, and apprenticeship programs have sprung up around the country.

White House Special Advisor Ivanka Trump has been leading the apprenticeship project with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. The EARNS Act supports pre-apprenticeship programs and new or expanding registered apprenticeship programs that provide national, portable credentials and help secure academic credit for on-the-job learning portions of an apprenticeship.

The Obama Administration failed to push these programs with the vigor that President Trump and his administration have shown.

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The calls to boost apprenticeship come after the White House proposed slashing the DOL's budget by 20 percent.

"Instead apprentices earn while they learn", he added.

Another complication: only about half of apprentices finish their multi-year programs.

It matches employers with the state's technical colleges, who tailor classes to meet the companies' needs, and handles most of the paperwork (companies have to register their apprenticeship programs with the federal and state governments). The goal is to promote programs that improve workplace readiness and skills development and to eliminate ineffective and redundant ones. Walker said he and Trump both want states to have more power in fixing this problem.

President Donald Trump is having lunch with Republican senators to discuss the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

The new apprenticeships, which will include training in occupations like financial services and health care, as well as more traditional fields like manufacturing, would not have to be certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, as is encouraged now. And he seems most comfortable talking about construction jobs, given the impact the industry had on his real estate business, and manufacturing jobs, considering their prevalence in some of the states that helped make him president. Durbin and Chicago-area officials released a report by the University of Illinois-Chicago's Great Cities Institute that said that the US treasury will lose an estimated $9.5 billion in future tax revenue from current jobless people in Illinois who have no high school degree.

The Trump administration has yet to spell out how it would close the completion gap. The budget also cuts $1 million in women's training programs, but the administration said that will be made up in this broader apprenticeship initiative. Addressing questions about those proposed cuts during an appearance in the White House press briefing room, Acosta said the administration hopes to foster "private to private partnerships" on job training.

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