Trump to sign executive order on apprenticeships

  • June 15, 2017

Trump and Apprenticeship Changes

The following article discusses some of the changes to existing apprenticeship program that will be created by an executive order which President Trump is expected to sign today.

Trump to sign executive order on apprenticeships

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Thursday that will cut back the federal government’s role in creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs, a move that the White House says will help fill vacant jobs.

The executive order, which Trump was expected to sign in conjunction with an 11 a.m. speech, is another anti-regulatory victory for business interests. It will move the role of developing government-funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to third-party private entities — including trade groups, labor unions and businesses. The third parties will set their own bar for success and submit their metrics to the Labor Department for approval.

The impact of the changes is an attempt by the Trump administration to open up the apprenticeship model and streamline it by cutting red tape.  There are some potential issues looming already.  Funding is relatively meager at about $200 million.  Critics of the program also fear it will dilute the quality of the program.  Given the relatively small scale that apprenticeships play in the overall development of the American workforce, it seems that some experimentation isn’t such a big risk for the Administration to undertake.  For CUE members, it is worth noting that it opens the door for both employers and labor unions to expand their offerings in this area.

Trump’s aides said the proposal will make it easier for businesses to operate their own unique apprenticeship programs, cutting back red tape. But it will also hand over tens of millions of public dollars to businesses while reducing the government’s role in setting accountability standards.

“The Department of Labor to date has been very prescriptive and very restrictive on the apprenticeship programs, but the Department of Labor is not an expert as to various individual sectors and what the qualifications are,” a senior White House official said. “So we’re going to let the industry put forth its proposals as to what should make up a high-quality apprenticeship program. But the Department of Labor still sits over and above it and still adjudicates it at the end of the day.”

But Chris Lu, former deputy Labor secretary under former President Barack Obama, said on Twitter that the executive order “will remove gov’t oversight of apprenticeship standards, which will reduce quality.” Lu also said that the doubling of apprenticeship grants would require “a funding shift from other training programs” because the presidents 2018 funding request “is flat.”

“As Trump discusses job training,” Lu added, “consider his last foray into this area: Trump University. That worked out well.” During the transition Trump paid $25 million to settle fraud claims against the venture while maintaining his innocence.

Worth keeping an eye on.