‘Workforce Development Week’ Kicks Off at the White House


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Monday kicks off the Trump administration’s “workforce development week” during which senior officials will hold roundtables with government, private industry and American workers while President Donald Trump will announce immediate plans for substantial administrative actions.

Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump told reporters in a call previewing the week that the administration will be “focusing intensely around various initiatives that we’ve put in place that are incredible administrative priorities.”

“In recent decades there has been great focus on the importance of four-year education, higher education.  And the reality is that that is not the right path for everyone.  While it is the right path for many, it is not for everyone.”

Trump said that the administration is working to close the remaining “skills gap.”

“President Trump, myself, the entire team, we would frequently meet with both American employers and American workers,” said Trump. They heard stories of post-graduates unable to find jobs as their massive debt levels loomed. Employers spoke to the officials of self-initiated programs to workforce training programs that produce the workforce they seek to hire.

Trump said the administration has been working “in close coordination with business leaders, with governors, with trade groups.” Sec. Alexander Acosta has been a leader in these workforce development efforts according to Trump. Congressional leaders have also been involved in what has been a bipartisan effort.

Educators, academics and students have given input to the Administration on creating a more “robust workforce,” according to Trump.

In the coming week the administration will launch “a series of initiatives, call on Congress to pass various reforms expanding apprenticeships, and raise awareness about the fact that there are important and very viable and respectable career paths outside of a tradition four-year college experience that should be considered and should be invested in,” according to Trump.

She added that in STEM-related fields, “there is a lack of equal participation by women, by minorities.  And that’s something we really have to think about how we’re going to change.” Trump also spoke of a gender and minority wage gap.

On Tuesday President Donald Trump will travel to the Waukesha County Technical College in Waukesha, Wisconsin where he will tour several training classrooms along with host Gov. Scott Walker, Sec. Acosta and adviser Ivanka Trump. In one of those classrooms students are trained “on power generation products that are produced right in that town at a local manufacturer,” according to Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives Reed Cordish who also briefed journalists in preview of the coming week.

The President, Gov. Walker, Sec. Acosta and Adviser Trump will then participate in a roundtable with local business owners, teachers and apprentices.

On Wednesday at the White House Adviser Ivanka Trump will host a roundtable with approximately 15 CEOs. The event will be centered around workforce development and apprenticeship programs.

That same day the President will make a major policy speech on workforce development at the Department of Labor. President Trump will announce immediate plans for substantial administrative actions and a desire for congressional legislative partnership on the issue. Sec. Acosta will make remarks as well.

On Thursday eight governors that have led in the area of workforce development will attend a roundtable at the White House. The event will be led by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sec. Acosta and Adviser Ivanka Trump.

Sec. Acosta also addressed reporters on the “workforce development week” preview call. He emphasized the administration’s commitment to the issue, specifically closing the skills gap. “Vacant jobs are particularly abundant in manufacturing, IT, and healthcare,” said Acosta who numbered vacant jobs in the United States at six million.

“The research at the Department of Labor shows that apprenticeship programs have a number of benefits,” Acosta added. He said about nine out of ten apprenticeship programs have jobs waiting with starting salaries averaging $60,000, “That is actually higher than the average starting salary from college.”

One senior administration official on the workforce week preview call highlighted that most successful apprenticeship programs have been privately funded.

“American companies cannot find enough candidates with the skills needed to fill millions of jobs that are open right now in this country,” remarked IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty. “The Trump Administration has put a strong focus on workforce training and education. This includes training for ‘New Collar’ technology jobs where a traditional four-year degree is not always required. We welcome the president’s efforts to close the high-tech skills gap, and build the American workforce we need.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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