With a frenzy of executive orders coming out of the Biden White House, it’s tough to keep track of every policy change that’s happening. Maybe that’s by design, because Biden’s recent rollback of expanded apprenticeship programs serves no one but big business and big government. Efforts in Congress double down on this rollback and continue to stifle the opportunities that come from apprenticeships.
In several industries across the country, the demand for skilled, so-called “blue collar” jobs is so great that there are more job openings than workers available to fill them. Apprenticeships can play an important role in filling these job openings. Unfortunately, unions have had far too much power over this process for the past several decades, narrowing or ending the ability of trades to recruit new employees without jumping through their hurdles. The Trump administration worked to level the playing field by removing some of these barriers, and to help offer young Americans a viable addition to or alternative to a traditional, four-year higher education pathway.
The Trump administration started the National Council for the American Worker and widely promoted the “Pledge to America’s Workers.” The pledge, ultimately signed by 430 companies, was to create 16 million new education and on-the-job learning opportunities for employees at the companies that signed.