Labor Secretary Acosta Discusses Apprenticeship Development

June 14, 2017

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has asked federal agencies to look into and recommend new executive actions to promote apprenticeship programs and opportunities.

The Trump administration is focusing on growing apprentice and worker training opportunities, with daughter Ivanka Trump promoting the issue in the media. In a Fox & Friends appearance this week, she said, “We’re constantly hearing from CEOs that they have job openings but they don’t have workers with the skill set they need to fill those jobs.”

Acosta last week told a panel that Trump’s budget, which proposes $90 million for apprenticeship grants, makes “hard but responsible choices,” and prioritizes programs based on effectiveness. “Our intent is to expand the apprenticeship program broadly and to scale it up,” Acosta told reporters last week.

Acosta indicated that the administration will be leaning on private enterprise to support the training programs. "The point here is to foster private-private partnerships between industry and educational institutions, so that when students go to a community college or when students are looking at apprenticeship programs in the building trades or four-year institutions, when they leave they have the skills necessary to enter the workforce."

Acosta noted in a press briefing the average starting salary for an apprentice is $60,000, according to Acosta, which is higher than the starting salary for a college graduate. When asked how he planned to expand the apprenticeship programs without putting more tax dollars into it, Acosta pointed to private money.