- U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta continues to show that apprenticeship programs are at the center of President Donald Trump's jobs goals, according to various media reports.
- Acosta told labor ministers of the Group of 20 industrial and emerging-market nations in Germany that employers want to fill positions but can't find enough skilled workers. Company heads met at the White House in February discuss the lack of workers to fill manufacturing jobs, says the LA Times.
- Currently, there are 324,000 unfilled U.S. factory jobs, which is three times the number in 2009.
Apprenticeship programs aren't new to employers or lawmakers, all of whom have sponsored them. Apprenticeships offer workers invaluable on-the-job training that can help close the skills gap confronting so many employers.
South Carolina has an apprenticeship program the U.S. Labor Department hails as successful. Apprenticeship Carolina has more than 26,000 people enrolled in the program since 2007, when it was first set up. Back then, fewer than 800 people had signed up. Today, the program has surpassed its goal of enrolling 20,000 people by 2020. Employers in other states might look to South Carolina as a prototype for their own programs — and as an example of the growing demand of such programs.
The president has proposed a 21% cut in the Labor Department's budget, though largely aimed at other jobs programs. Regardless, momentum in the space will only continue to increase, especially as the cost of four-year college skyrockets.