- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2017

President Trump toured a technical college in Wisconsin Tuesday, promoting a plan for more apprenticeships and other alternatives to a four-year degree that he said will help more Americans find good-paying jobs.

The tour was part of the president’s week-long focus on workforce development, which will include the unveiling of a new apprenticeship initiative Wednesday.

The push for more apprenticeships, technical schools and other training for trades has been a touchstone for both Republican and Democratic presidents, but Mr. Trump wants to do it without increased federal spending.

The administration wants an apprenticeship program, which will seek to set up partnerships between business and universities, to train young workers for a vast array of jobs that employers are struggling to fill.

There are currently 6 million job openings in the U.S. for which employers can’t find workers with the necessary skills. A Business Roundtable survey released last week found that 95 percent of executives reported problems finding qualified workers, according to the Labor Department.

At the Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, Mr. Trump met with students learning to operate large machines and then led a roundtable discussion with about a dozen business leaders.

He said enhancing training and educational opportunities to help young people to get good-paying jobs “is one of the most important questions facing” their generation.

Mr. Trump recalled classmates in college who he said “didn’t have a great ability or frankly didn’t have a great liking for what they were doing or what they were studying. But they could take apart an engine. They could do drilling like I’ve never seen before.”

Those are the people he said he is seeking to help with new job-training programs. He said the rooms he saw at WCTC “aren’t your normal lecture halls. But in a certain way, they are far more beautiful. You learn incredible skills like welding and repair.”

He called the machines he saw “incredible” and the people who operated them “very, very amazing.

“It’s what keeps our nation going,” he said of jobs in the trades. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure more young people have opportunities.”

Mr. Trump was joined on the tour by his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Ms. Trump, who has played a leading role in workforce development issues, said it was “truly inspiring to see such a dynamic campus.” She added that she enjoyed the tour of the campus and said that it was “incredible and very important work that you are doing here.”

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