Responding to President Trump’s Executive Order to Expand Apprenticeship Programs

by Melanie Anderson   •  

By 2020, the majority of US jobs will require not only a high school diploma, but also some form of postsecondary education and training. It is absolutely critical to ensure all students have access to and complete some form of postsecondary education or skills development beyond high school that results in a degree, certificate or credential.

On June 15, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) to expand apprenticeship programs. As low-skill labor disappears and the job market demands a more skilled workforce, it is essential to train young adults for work in emerging, high-demand and high-skill fields.

The EO targets youth in the promotion of expanding apprenticeships and will:

  • Establish a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, which would be chaired by the Secretary of Labor and co-chaired by the Secretaries of Education and Commerce, and would also include representatives from industry, labor, and educational institutions.
  • Direct Secretaries of Defense, Labor, Education and the Attorney General to expand access to apprenticeships for out of school youth, formerly incarcerated youth, and veterans.
  • Elevate the role of community colleges to expand access to apprenticeships.

The Opportunity Nation policy plan, “Our Opportunity Nation, encourages promoting apprenticeships as a pathway to a career works for both the employee and the employer. Apprentices in the U.S. earn an average starting salary of $50,000 a year while gaining a credential that is the equivalent to a 2- or 4-year college degree, and many will get a full-time job offer at the end of the apprenticeship program.

We are pleased to see a focus on apprenticeships by the Administration and look toward to working with employers and the Administration on implementation of this EO to ensure quality standards are met and the necessary funds are allocated.  

Melanie Anderson Melanie Anderson is the Director of Government and External Affairs at Opportunity Nation. She directs the campaign’s government relations and policy efforts. Read Melanie's bio.

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