- - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Apprenticeships — on-the-job opportunities for people to be paid while gaining relevant workplace experience and skill-set instruction — are believed to hold the key to filling some 350,000 open manufacturing jobs and an anticipated surge of millions of new U.S. jobs, including many in infrastructure sectors.

On June 15, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to promote U.S. apprenticeships. The order called for the creation of a blue-ribbon advisory panel to make recommendations on how to start, build and promote successful apprenticeship programs that can graduate new workers with hands-on job experience and industry-recognized credentials.

The administration’s FY 2019 budget calls for $200 million for apprenticeship programs, “doubling last year’s budget request,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told a Feb. 13 Senate Budget Committee hearing.

Three cabinet officials — Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — lead the President’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Ivanka Trump, a White House senior adviser and Mr. Trump’s daughter, is also heavily involved in the task force’s efforts.

At the panel’s first meeting on Nov. 13, 2017, according to a Department of Labor report, Mr. Acosta, the task force chairman, said Mr. Trump’s priority with respect to labor is “job creation, more job creation, and even more job creation.” Mrs. DeVos, task force vice chairman, stressed the value of “earn and learn” opportunities, while Mr. Ross, also task force vice chairman, said apprenticeships can be an “ideal solution” to address specific skill shortages and to help small businesses find qualified job applicants.

The following business, academic, industry, nonprofit, labor and political leaders are part of the task force, which last met on March 15.

Michael Bellaman, President and CEO, Associated Builders and Contractors

Joshua Bolten, President and CEO, Business Roundtable

Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges

Wesley G. Bush, Chairman, CEO and President, Northrop Grumman Corp.

Dennis Daugaard, Governor of South Dakota

Emily DeRocco, CEO, E3 Engage Educate Employ

Cari M. Dominguez, Principal, Dominguez & Associates

Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Montez King, Executive Director, National Institute for Metalworking Skills

Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Co.

Katherine Lugar, President and CEO, American Hotel and Lodging Association

Douglas McCarron, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League

John Dezso Ratzenberger, Actor and Entertainer

Kim Reynolds, Governor of Iowa

Mark B. Rosenberg, President, Board of Directors, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Joseph Sellers, General President, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers

Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association

Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers

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