4 | COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL AACC.NCHE.EDU
One of President Donald Trump’s touted
priorities is to get more Americans in
high-paying jobs. He signed an executive order in mid-June that would
expand apprenticeship programs, which
allow people to earn money while they
learn a skill.
“In today’s rapidly changing economy, it is more important than ever to
prepare workers to fill both existing
and newly created jobs and to prepare
workers for the jobs of the future,” the
executive order says.
The order calls to nearly double
the $95 million in federal funding for
apprenticeship programs by tapping
existing job-training funds.
In the U.S., there are currently about
500,000 apprenticeship positions. The
president aims to create 5 million new
apprenticeships over five years.
Trump, his daughter Ivanka,
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta
visited Wisconsin’s Waukesha County
Technical College prior to signing the
order. They toured the college and vis-
ited an apprenticeship program.
“Programs like this are critical to
bridging our nation’s skill gap and to
ensuring that there is a great and ready
talent pool to meet the in-demand jobs
that are currently available and continue to come online,” Ivanka Trump
said during a roundtable at the college.
The executive order eases federal
restrictions that some proponents say
have prevented businesses from creating more apprenticeship programs.
Proposed regulations would allow
trade and industry organizations, companies, unions and others—to develop
apprenticeships, outside of the registered apprenticeship system. The new
regulations would govern how these
groups would recognize and oversee
“So we’re empowering these com-
panies, these unions, industry groups,
federal agencies to go out and create
new apprenticeships for millions of our
citizens,” Trump said in remarks at the
The order also calls on the Education
Department (ED) to support two- and
four-year colleges and universities in
their efforts to incorporate apprenticeship programs into courses of study.
ED and other departments, such
as Labor and Defense, also will help to
promote apprenticeships and pre-ap-prenticeship programs to high school
students, veterans and incarcerated
individuals, among others.
EXAMINING WORKFORCE PROGRAMS
In addition to expanding apprenticeships, the Trump administration wants
to examine current workforce development programs.
Under Trump’s proposed budget for
next year, Perkins Career and Technical
Education (CTE) programs would receive
about $949.5 million—$166 million less
than under current funding. The budget
also proposes a cut of 39 percent, or $1.3
billion, for Workforce Innovation and
Opportunity Act ( WIOA) job training and
employment services formula programs.
In addition, adult education states
grants would be cut by about $95 million, to $485 million.
However, Congress has its own
plans. In July, the House Appropriations
Committee passed a funding bill that
would retain current spending levels for
Perkins CTE programs. The Senate has
yet to tackle appropriations.
At AACC’s Advocates in Action
meeting in June, Rep. Bradley Byrne
(R-Alabama), who serves on the
House Education and the Workforce
Committee and is a former chancellor
of the Alabama Community College
System, said CTE programs are proven
to work, but current funding for the
programs is not enough.
Byrne said he supports trimming
federal spending, but it should be done
“Let’s use a scalpel and not a butcher
knife,” he said.
White House pushes
By Tabitha Whissemore
Waukesha County Technical
College President Kaylen Betzig
gives a tour of the college’s
machine tool and CNC labs.
“So we’re empowering these companies, these unions,
industry groups, federal agencies to go out and create
new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens.”
DONALD TRUMP, president of the United States