A White House effort to encourage companies to foster work-based learning opportunities that lead to jobs has recruited more businesses since it started this summer, with pledges of creating millions of new jobs.
At a White House event on Wednesday, presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, who has been visiting various job training programs across the country including those at community colleges, gave an update on the Pledge to America’s Workers initiative, which kicked off in July.
At the time, companies that ranged from Apple and Microsoft to FedEx and Wal Mart, said they would create a total of 3.5 million new jobs through programs such as apprenticeships over the next five years. Since then, an additional 120 companies have joined, pushing the number of promised new jobs to 6.3 million (which include work-based learning opportunities for students and incumbent workers), Trump said. She noted that the revised jobs commitment represents 5 percent of the current U.S. workforce.
Trump also highlighted some of the recent companies joining the effort, such as Ford, which pledged 55,000 new jobs, and AT&T, which said it would create 200,000 jobs and opportunities. Companies that are members of IPC, which represents the electronic assembly industry, aim to create 1 million new jobs.
“No federal funds are involved in this at all,” Trump said.
The event also included brief statements from three individuals — a Pittsburgh teen interested in robotics, a displaced coal miner from Kentucky who found a new job as an CNC instructor, and a Marine veteran in Houston training to become a pipefitter — who have tapped job training, apprenticeships and other on-the-job experiences for new careers.
President Donald Trump followed his daughter with accolades for his administration’s efforts to maintain a strong economy and create new jobs through tax cuts and deregulation. But he noted that there are not enough skilled workers in the U.S. to fill available and emerging jobs. Immigrants are one population that can help fill that gap, but they have to come to the U.S. through legal channels, he said.
“We want them to come in through merit, so that they can help these companies,” he said.
Legislation such as the recently passed Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which rewrites the $1.1 billion Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, will help fund state efforts on job training and, in turn, draw new companies to areas with a skilled workforce, added Ivanka Trump.
The White House plans to engage with more employers to sign the pledge. It also wants to learn about promising practices in states, localities and community colleges. Just last week, Ivanka Trump visited Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Kentucky where she met with college leaders, the governor and lawmakers for a discussion on workforce development.