Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Friday that the Labor Department would focus on promoting a type of work that President Trump has long used himself — apprenticeships. Acosta said they were key to addressing a skills gap that has plagued the economy.
"Apprenticeships are a major priority for President Trump and the Department of Labor. We have made a strong commitment to increasing the number of quality apprenticeships, including expansion into high-growth, emerging sectors where apprenticeships have historically been rare," Acosta said in a speech at the G-20 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting in Germany.
Acosta said the U.S. had six million vacant job positions despite having seven million unemployed people. The disconnect exists because unemployed people lacked the necessary backgrounds for the open jobs. "In the last several months, CEO after CEO has told me that they are eager to fill their vacancies, but they cannot find workers with the right skills," Acosta said.
Although the labor secretary made no reference to it in his speech, Trump's emphasis on these on-the-job training programs was not surprising. For 10 seasons starting in 2004, the president starred in the reality TV series "The Apprentice."