Could Switzerland be a model for Trump's apprenticeship program?
- Bloomberg reports that Johann Schneider-Ammann, Switzerland’s economy minister, plans to share his expertise on his nation's vocational training system with White House officials. The visit coincides with the Trump administration's goal to develop more apprenticeship programs.
- In June, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to promote apprenticeships, which would pay on average $15 an hour. Former President Barack Obama first connected with Switzerland in 2015 to learn more about the country's success in administering vocational training programs.
- Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta told Bloomberg that businesses struggle finding skilled workers and that apprenticeships could help close the skills gap.
After receiving a 'challenge' in March from Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, President Trump has actively promoted the development of "5 million apprenticeships." The Trump family visited a technical school in Wisconsin last month during a self-styled "Apprenticeship Week" to further showcase their commitment to such programs. Employment specialists say apprenticeships not only give unskilled workers on-the-job training, but they're also cost-effective, giving employers a good return on their investment.
The president's plan would redirect $100 million in federal job-training funds to the creation of new apprenticeships — despite calling for funding cuts from similar aspects within the DOL to ease "inefficiencies." He also asked federal agencies to remove regulations that could stifle the programs, promoting the notion that employers could design their own apprenticeship programs.
Trump's support of apprenticeships has resurrected the debate over whether there's a skills gap or a shortage of high-paying jobs that allow people to earn a living. Either way, apprenticeships could be a key way for struggling industries, such as construction and manufacturing, to change their image in the eyes of young Americans and give young talent that is not interested in college a strong alternative.