AMERICA NEEDS A STRONG WORKFORCE: Americans do not have sufficient access to high-quality education and workforce-development programs, causing too many jobs to remain unfilled and making it difficult for many businesses to grow.

  • American workers have been left behind and jobs have been left unfilled due to insufficient access to skills-development and education programs.
  • An increase in infrastructure investment will spur new projects that will further boost labor demand in infrastructure sectors, and in the broader economy.
  • There are 6.3 million job openings in the United States, the highest number on record.
    • There are 250,000 job openings in the construction industry.
    • There are 427,000 job openings in manufacturing.
    • There are 305,000 job openings in transportation, warehousing, and utilities.
  • According to a February 2018 survey of small business owners by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): “22 percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem.”
    • The survey also found that: “…90 percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.”
  • 65 percent of all jobs will require some education or training beyond high school by 2020, according to a 2014 study by Georgetown University.

EMPOWERING AMERICAN WORKERS: President Trump’s infrastructure proposal will help prepare our workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow, generating greater economic opportunity for more Americans.

  • The President’s proposal for rebuilding infrastructure in America includes critical reforms to improve access to high-quality education and workforce-development programs.
  • The proposal would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, short-term programs that lead to a credential or certification in a high-demand field, helping Americans who want a well-paying job get one more quickly.
    • Currently, Pell Grant recipients cannot use their grant dollars for short-term programs.
  • The President’s proposal would reform the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program so that more students have access to skills-focused education.
    • Congress must improve the CTE program so participants are better prepared to fill jobs in high-demand fields and so more funds go to programs which are in line with local workforce needs.
  • The proposal calls for several reforms to the Perkins CTE program that would:
    • Direct the majority of CTE high school funding to promote strategies such as expanding apprenticeships, work-based learning, and dual-enrollment opportunities.
    • Promote STEM and CTE offerings in high schools.
    • Strengthen the emphasis on evidence-based research.
    • Authorize funding for fast-track programs that prepare high school students for infrastructure jobs.
  • President Trump’s proposal would reform the Federal Work Study program to better distribute aid and ensure more participants gain relevant workplace experience.
    • These reforms would increase the program’s focus on quality two-year programs that promote workforce readiness.

PROMOTING GREATER OPPORTUNITY AND PROSPERITY: The President’s proposal for rebuilding infrastructure in America will further his Administration’s commitment to promoting economic opportunity.

  • Providing greater access to quality education and skills-development programs will help American workers fill needed, well-paying jobs.
  • Workforce development programs, such as apprenticeships, have a proven track record of providing economic opportunity for American workers.
    • According to Department of Labor data, over 90 percent of participants gain employment after completing apprenticeship programs and receive an average starting wage of $60,000.
    • Without the burden of student loan debt, apprenticeship program graduates see a $300,000 lifetime earnings increase.
  • In June 2017, the President signed an Executive Order to expand access to apprenticeships and workforce-development programs, which:
    • Directed the Department of Labor to use available funding to promote apprenticeships.
    • Directed the Secretary of Education to support efforts by community colleges and two-year and four-year institutions to incorporate apprenticeship programs into their curricula.
    • Established a Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion to identify ways to promote apprenticeships.