A group of business leaders have committed to train 3.8 million workers with in-demand job skills over the next five years under an executive order on job creation signed by President Donald Trump Thursday.
FedEX, General Motors, Home Depot, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Walmart, and 16 other companies and trade groups signed a pledge to expand apprenticeship programs, increase on-the-job training, and educate both students and workers throughout their careers.
The executive order also establishes the National Council for the American Worker, which will consist of cabinet members and senior White House officials. They are charged with developing a national strategy to train Americans for the skills they need to fill open jobs now and in the future.
The order also created the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board that will bring together governors with business executives and educators.
There are currently more job openings than unemployed workers in the US, and companies are having a hard time finding enough workers with the right skills. Many new jobs require more than a high school education, but not necessarily a four-year degree.
“America’s vocational education, whether for high school students …. or for mid- to late- career workers should be just as innovative, dynamic and successful as our people,” Ivanka Trump said at a press conference Thursday. The president’s daughter, a senior White House adviser, is leading the White House’s efforts on workforce development.
Many of the companies already have training programs in place. IBM, for example, created a career and technical education model now used at 79 high schools across the country. The model, called P-Tech, was touted by Trump Thursday. Students can enroll for grades 9 to 14 and earn both a high school and an associate’s degree in a science, tech, engineering or math related field.
The 3.8 million additional training opportunities are beyond what companies already have in place.
The government currently helps fund 40 job training programs spread across 14 agencies. The White House has proposed a plan to “reorganize and consolidate” the $17 billion it spends on those programs.