In light of the country’s need for an educated workforce versus today’s cost of education, apprenticeships and job training programs seem like a perfect solution. The Executive Order signed by President Trump on June 15, 2017 aims to increase the number of apprenticeships and vocational programs by tenfold – from approximately 500,000 to 5 million during the next four years. The hope is that these better trained workers will be able to fill the higher-skilled positions for which employers currently cannot find qualified individuals.
The Executive Order is meant to eliminate restrictive regulations so that companies are empowered to create new work training programs. Often, existing rules limiting the number of apprentices who can receive needed training inhibit younger employees from being hired as such opportunities are reserved for more experienced workers. While work training programs can surely be worthwhile for both companies and employees, the cost of developing such programs has typically fallen to private companies. The Executive Order doubles funding for apprenticeship grants to $200 million by pulling money allotted for existing job-training programs.
While the order seeks to deregulate the development of apprenticeships, private companies will still likely have to register such programs with and report certain metrics to the Department of Labor. The Department, however, will have little control over the design of vocational programs. Instead, the Executive Order intends for companies to have broad discretion to design apprenticeships and work training programs that fit the needs of the company and/or industry.
Under the Order, the federal government will have to review 43 existing workforce development programs to make them “more accountable and effective.” As a result, some such programs may be eliminated. Finally, the Order calls for a task force whose focus will be how to expand work training programs across different private industries. Members of both political parties have shown their support for the expansion of apprenticeship programs.
The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters for over sixty years, and are available to discuss these issues and others. As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.