Let’s face it, college isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t have the time, money, or inclination to attend a four-year institution, but that doesn’t mean the desire to increase and fine-tune knowledge and skills doesn’t exist.
In fact, more so now, than ever before, the need for vocational and technological skills is paramount.
Learn and earn
There are shortages for these types of workers across multiple job sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and information technology.
President Trump has recently signed a bill to help close the gap between the need for these skills and the people wanting to learn them.
Even though President Trump has been under fire for several of his recent policy changes, the latest bill he signed is one AG is thrilled to report: Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order that will (nearly) double the amount of taxpayer money spent on learn-and-earn programs under a grant system called ApprenticeshipUSA.
A dying life path
Apprenticeships are currently few and far between.
Only about 0.35 percent of the more than 146 million jobs nationwide are active apprenticeships.
The potential for apprentices to gain useful knowledge and skills from master tradesmen/women is absolutely prime, especially for individuals looking to change careers or avoid the hefty student loan debt so often incurred at four-year institutions.
The Apprenticeship and Workforce Program of Tomorrow bill would allow industries to design apprenticeships under Labor Department standards.
The executive order aims to direct and streamline approximately 43 workforce programs across 13 agencies, in order to offer additional apprenticeship opportunities.
President Trump directed the programs to be streamlined because he was hesitant to spend additional federal funds on this program, especially since he recently cut federal job funding by nearly 40 percent. Instead, the funding would come from existing programs which will benefit from streamlining.
The apprentice IRL
The Trump administration has hopes that this will change the American attitude toward vocational education and apprenticeships. According a November 2016 report by former President Barack Obama’s Commerce Department, “apprenticeships are not fully understood in the United States, especially by employers, who tend to use apprentices for a few, hard-to-fill positions” but not as often or completely as they could.
As for the inner-workings of the program, there is uncertainty about how the order will be put into effect.
Scott, the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee said that he recommended to the administration that all apprenticeships be registered, but Trump’s order does not require it and accountability is key for this program to thrive.