President Trump: Make the investments in worker training you called for last night

January 31, 2018

A statement from Andy Van Kleunen, CEO, National Skills Coalition

“We appreciate that, during the State of the Union, President Trump called out the need for a greater national investment in workforce development, job training, and vocational schools. But talk is cheap; ensuring we have the most skilled workforce in the world is not. Unfortunately, to date the President’s agencies have either called for deep cuts to workforce programs, or they have refused to spend the training resources Congress has already given to them. Perhaps last night’s speech signals a shift. We hope so. The nation’s workers and businesses will be watching to see if the President follows through.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to reconcile the President Trump’s words with his Administration’s deeds.

  • The President’s last budget proposal called for deep cuts to job training, career and technical education and apprenticeship programs essential to addressing the skills gap that’s already holding businesses back and keeping workers from prospering. Congress rejected these cuts on a bi-partisan basis when it approved funding through September 2017.
  • Last June, when the President first introduced his plan for a comprehensive infrastructure proposal, he promised to train a million new apprentices to ensure we had a sufficient pipeline of skilled workers to rebuild our country. Yet the most recent version of his infrastructure plan doesn’t mention apprentices at all, and in fact is silent on what number of jobs will be created or how we would prepare people for those positions.

There is a robust menu of bipartisan workforce ideas that enjoy widespread support from Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress. For instance, we could end the end the unfair bias against working people in the Pell grant system by extending Pell grants to career-oriented people who want to enroll in proven, short-term training programs – people just like Corey Adams, the Ohio welder President Trump honored last night.

National Skills Coalition is ready to work with the administration on policies that would arm the American people and American businesses with the skills they need to compete in today’s economy.


National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public officials working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper.