The Labor Department unveiled on Thursday a new website to promote business apprenticeship programs, apprenticeship.gov, billed as a “one-stop source for all things apprenticeship.” The free site is essentially a search engine intended to help employers promote opportunities for apprenticeships and to help workers find them.
“President Trump’s administration is working to ensure the American workforce has the skills to succeed and the opportunities to secure family-sustaining careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Today’s launch of Apprenticeship.gov offers the first step in better online resources for apprenticeships across all industries.”
Trump’s administration has aggressively promoted apprenticeships as an alternative to higher education, arguing there is a strong demand for skilled workers not currently being met and that they provide good-paying careers without having to incur the debt typically entailed by higher education. In a June 2017 executive order Trump declared that “expanding apprenticeships and reforming ineffective education and workforce development programs will help … more Americans to obtain relevant skills and high-paying jobs.” The effort has been applauded by both business groups and organized labor, representatives of both participated in a “task force on apprenticeship expansion.
About 40 percent of all Americans age 18-24 were enrolled in a college or university in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1980, according to Education Department. The increase has lead to a massive spike in student loan debt. US students owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in loans, more than twice the amount from a decade earlier.
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