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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Secretary Acosta: “President Trump Knows: Apprenticeships Will Boost Wages And Fill Jobs”

“The president knows that apprenticeship programs offer demand-based skills and good, stable jobs with reduced or no student debt. And the president knows that apprenticeship programs offer the best way of reducing the skills gap.”

President Trump Knows: Apprenticeships Will Boost Wages And Fill Jobs
By Alex Acosta
Des Moines Register
June 14, 2017

There are 6 million job openings in the United States. This is the highest number of jobs on record. In a Business Roundtable survey of CEOs released just last week, 95 percent of executives reported difficulty finding qualified employees. Americans want to work; American companies want to hire. The available jobs, however, do not match the prospective employees’ job skills.

This skills gap is a particular challenge in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy: financial services, health care and information technology. The skills gap also persists in other sectors. For example, there are 360,000 job vacancies in manufacturing. There are also 200,000 available construction jobs, and with President Donald Trump’s forthcoming investment in infrastructure, that number will, in all likelihood, increase substantially.

The most obvious and immediate benefit for graduating apprentices is a high-earning job. Individuals who complete an apprenticeship program, on average, earn a starting wage of more than $60,000 per year. This is higher than the average starting salary of students who graduate from traditional colleges. And nearly nine out of 10 are employed upon completing their apprenticeships.

Despite these benefits, apprentices make up only 0.3 percent of the American workforce, with large-scale apprenticeship programs largely limited to the construction sector. The building trades unions, working together with contractors, spend more than $1 billion per year funding a nationwide network of nearly 1,600 teaching centers. The industry understands the benefits of skilled workforce and is willing to pay to teach its workers.

Throughout his career, President Trump has seen firsthand the success of apprenticeship programs in the building trades. Throughout his campaign, as he met with a countless number of Americans, President Trump repeated his commitment to expand job opportunities here in America. Apprenticeships will be one of the ways that President Trump will deliver on his commitment.

The president knows that apprenticeship programs offer demand-based skills and good, stable jobs with reduced or no student debt. And the president knows that apprenticeship programs offer the best way of reducing the skills gap.

Read the full op-ed here.