Why all the buzz about apprenticeships?

President Donald Trump reiterated his support for apprenticeships at a discussion last week focused on expanding opportunities for women and minorities in STEM fields.

The discussion was one event in a series dating as far back as March in which the President pointed to “earn as you learn” programs as a possible solution for growing skills gaps in the nation’s fastest growing sectors.

In June, the President signed an executive order rolling back government regulations surrounding the creation of apprenticeships and announcing plans to expand apprenticeship programs. Before that, he met with German leaders to discuss their world-renown apprenticeship models.

“Technology has become a part of nearly every industry, from manufacturing to retailing,” the President said in a statement before the discussion, “And we want all of our citizens, every single citizen—including women and minorities—to have access to high-paying tech jobs and other STEM-related jobs."

Apprenticeships are certainly not a new concept, having been supported heavily by the Obama Administration and replied upon for years by the construction and building trades. The new task force created by President Trump will look for ways to expand apprenticeships across all industries.

“Americans want to work,” Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said following the discussion. “American companies want to hire. We need to close the skills gap between the skills demanded by these open jobs and the skills offered by the American people.”

The hope behind expanding apprenticeships is that it will allow business and industry to help shape program offerings, so they can help develop exactly the skills and workers that are needed to fill the jobs available.

In Missouri, several colleges are looking at ways to expand apprenticeships. In fact, Crowder College just last month became a Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor, joining Jefferson College, Metropolitan Community College, Ozarks Technical Community College, St. Charles Community College, St. Louis Community College, and State Fair Community College.
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