Trump’s Latest APPRENTICE Awaits YOUR Job Opening

Several years ago, one of our technology Members who actually manufactures in Los Angeles County lamented that she couldn’t find any machinists. America had become so skilled in off-shoring, that the country – at least Southern California – no longer had any of these skilled laborers available for hire. But that workforce deficit may soon be about to change. The CEO in Chief just signed an Executive Order to, in President Trump’s words, “expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help all Americans find a rewarding career, earn a great living, and support themselves and their families, and love going to work in the morning.” He goes on to explain that “we’re empowering these companies, these unions, industry groups, federal agencies to go out and create new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens. Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees. Instead, apprentices earn while they learn. . . Today’s apprentices will construct the roads and bridges that move our citizens, they will bend the metal and steel that shape our cities, and they will pioneer the new technology that drives our commerce.”

     Although Trump apparently has only added $5 million to the pre-existing Apprenticeship program (according to CNN, the 2017 budget proposal provides $95 million for apprenticeships, compared to $90 million in 2016), his stated goal is to create five million more apprenticeships within the next five years. The goal to create ten times the number of the current 505,371 apprenticeships through the “Apprenticeship and Workforce of Tomorrow” program, is an initiative that will require “removing federal restrictions” that have prevented industries from creating apprenticeships, according to the President, which he will do his best to eradicate.

     According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, while many employers provide informal apprenticeships for new workers, the Labor bureaucracy regulates and approves programs whose credentials are recognized industry-wide. So Trump has directed Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to streamline regulations to make it easier for employers, industry groups and labor unions to offer apprenticeships.

Blending on-the-job work with paid classroom instruction, apprenticeships typically last two to six years, and nearly all apprentice graduates receive jobs with an average starting salary of $60,000, according to the Labor Department. Compared to the starting pay for most college majors (outside of STEM fields), the estimated starting salary for education majors was $34,891 and for humanities majors, $46,065, according to last year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers survey. Particularly when there are 203,000 job openings in construction, 359,000 in manufacturing, and 1.1 million in healthcare, we could use more trades people to help dig us out of student debt which is now at a staggering $1.3 trillion.

     While the current federal funding indicates the program’s target of five million participants is an “aspirational goal,” clearly the country needs more welders, plumbers, electrical engineers, and other mechanical tradesmen and women. Together they – and we – can celebrate the “Dignity of Work.”