President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

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Encouraging apprenticeships is one issue likely to find bipartisan support

The new program will cost $200 million

Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday that looks to expand apprenticeships and job-training programs by giving more freedom to third-party companies and schools, according to two senior White House officials.

The new program, which will cost $200 million and take some authority away from the Department of Labor, looks to start filling the 6 million vacant jobs in the United States that are vacant, in part, because job training doesn’t match the skills needed. Labor will provide oversight on the program.

“The President will be calling on businesses across the country to embrace apprenticeships and we do not expect that call to go unanswered,” one official said.

Another official said both the President and Ivanka Trump, who is said to have been intimately involved in this executive order, will “use the bully pulpit of the White House … to maintain a focus on this issue.”

Encouraging apprenticeships is one issue the Trump White House will likely be able to find bipartisan support – something somewhat unheard of in the first few months of the Trump administration. Democrats have stressed the need to train Americans for the jobs that are available, and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 opponent, made pushing apprenticeship programs a part of her campaign.

The executive order is more of a directive and less a dramatic change in administrative policy. The order creates a task force to recommend ways to promote apprenticeships and require all federal agencies to evaluate their training programs – one official said that was “43 separate work force programs that are spread across 13 agencies that total $16.7 billion a year” – and consider how to consolidate the programs.

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The biggest change: Trump will “direct the Department of Labor to allow companies, trade associations, and union to develop their own ‘industry-recognized apprenticeship’ guidelines, which the Department of Labor will review for quality and then approve.”

One official said that will cost around $200 million that will come from already-allocated Department of Labor funds.

Both officials said Trump and the White House have worked with Democrats and labor unions on this proposal.

“We really applaud labor unions,” said one official, who added that they have been “leaders in this issue” and have been “incredibly supportive of this effort.”

“The more American workers we are going to create, they hope a lot of them become union members,” the official said.

One official specially said the White House has worked with Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat, to put the proposal together.

And following the executive order, Trump is expected to call on Congress to act.

“Conversations have already started and have been well embraced for Congress to take the next step, so that student aid can be expanded and apply without restrictions to this type of skill based, earn and learn model,” one official said.