President Donald Trump Launches Workforce Development Week

By Julie Desisto, coordinator, government relations

“We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers.” –President Donald J. Trump

Earlier this week President Donald Trump announced “Workforce Development Week.” As such, President Trump spent the last 4 days promoting job creation and even signed executive order expanding apprenticeship programs.

The Trump administration asked federal agencies to recommend new executive actions to promote apprenticeships and remove regulations that could be an obstacle to workforce development. Though Trump’s 2018 budget proposal cuts funding for job training programs by 40 percent, from $2.7 billion to $1.6 billion, the Administration hopes to foster “private-to-private partnerships” on job training through the executive order, Expanding Apprenticeships in America.

This order would virtually eliminate oversight of government-subsidized apprenticeship programs and shift certification of federally funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to grant recipients. Additionally, the executive order:

  • Responds to the desire of third-party groups to create more flexible apprenticeship programs and directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to allow companies, trade associations, and unions to develop their own “industry-recognized apprenticeship” guidelines, which the DOL will review for quality, and then approve.
  • Directs the DOL to use available funding to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeships are not currently widespread.
  • Creates a task force that will recommend ways to promote apprenticeships.
  • Requires all Federal agencies to review and evaluate the effectiveness of their job training programs, and consider how to best consolidate certain programs for increased accountability. 

Concurrently in Congress, a bipartisan Senate bill, The Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act, was introduced by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). This bill aims to use tax breaks to kick-start apprenticeship programs.

The legislation would create a $5,000 tax credit based on wages paid by companies that hire individuals enrolled in a federal or state registered apprentice program. The bill also provides a tax credit rate of $3 per hour per individual to employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program. Senior employees nearing retirement can draw from their pensions earlier if they mentor new employees.

IPC will continue to monitor these initiatives. For more information on workforce development policy and resources, contact Julie Desisto, IPC government relations coordinator, at JulieDesisto@ipc.org.