According to Gallup's latest polling, 36 and 59 percent of Americans approve and disapprove of President Trump's performance respectively. That's the reverse image of his performance last November in Waukesha County, Wis., where the president won 60 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 33 percent.
With those numbers as a backdrop, Trump toured a technical college in the suburban Milwaukee county on Tuesday afternoon, outlining his administration's plans to help boost apprenticeship programs and close the skills gap in the labor force.
"We have jobs," Gov. Scott Walker said during a roundtable with Trump, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Ivanka Trump. "We need to find more people to fill those jobs."
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, State Sen. Duey Stroebel, a Republican, lauded the president's visit to Wisconsin.
"I think it is great President Trump is showing interest in Wisconsin by coming here," Stroebel said. "I hope we can show off some of the reforms we are doing. And, some of the goals all the other states and the federal government can strive for."
"When in Wisconsin, Trump will see the importance of creating a workforce for the 21st century," the senator, who represents a district in the southeastern region of the state, continued, "Work is what made this country great. Wisconsinites want to work and working is one of the best ways for people to contribute to our society."
Mike Nichols, president of the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (where I once interned), agreed the initiatives discussed at Waukesha County Technical College on Tuesday would benefit Wisconsin.
"A lot of Wisconsin businesses and a lot of citizens would benefit from this," he told the Washington Examiner after Trump's trip to the school concluded. "The reality is in Wisconsin still about one-third of high school grads don't ever go on to college. It also is true of even those who do go on, most go on to [University of Wisconsin] system, about a third of those folks don't graduate in six years and probably don't ever graduate at all," he explained. "There's a very large number of Wisconsinites who will never make it through college and would benefit from these types of apprenticeship programs."
Nichols pointed to data projecting there will be a "huge skills gap" in the years ahead, "particularly in southeastern Wisconsin."
"Businesses are really in need of employees," Nichols noted.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Joel Quadracci, the president and chief executive of Sussex-based company Quad Graphics, recalled his own business' challenges with the skills gap. "We hired 2,500 students in the last five years in Wisconsin," he said. "In 2015, I was surprised at how hard it was to bring people in."
Nichols thinks the administration's solutions to these challenges will resonate in the area.
"People who are able to get beyond the politics in D.C. will look at it and see that it makes a lot of sense," he predicted.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.