In a rapidly evolving job market, apprenticeships serve as a bridge between education and employment, offering hands-on experience and skill development. Explore the diverse perspectives of the Presidential Candidates vying for the highest office and gain insights into their plans for bolstering apprenticeship initiatives. Join us on a journey to understand the pivotal role apprenticeships play in the candidates’ vision for the future workforce.
President Biden is the current incumbent and the front-runner to win the Democratic Party nomination next year. In September 2022, Biden announced the launch of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative. It is a national network of organizations that seek to strengthen Registered Apprentice, an equitable “earn and learn” model that helps employers hire diverse, well-trained candidates. Registered Apprentice has seen enrollment more than double in the last decade, to 607,509 active apprentices. Further, in 2023, guidance about training workers and lowering unemployment, the Biden Administration encouraged employers to adopt apprenticeship programs.
As President in 2017, Trump signed an executive order that aimed to expand apprenticeship access by rolling back the federal government’s role in creating and regulating these programs. The order moved the role of developing government-funded from the Department of Labor to third-party private entities. The order also doubled the amount of federal funding for apprenticeships from $90 million to $200 a year. While the executive order may have created more apprenticeship programs, critics argue that any development of these “earn and learn” models should come with stringent regulations to ensure a high standard of learning.
During his term as governor in Florida, Ron DeSantis has made significant gains in apprenticeship programs. From 2019, when he took office, to 2023, it is reported that Florida saw a 45% increase in registered apprentices. This was mainly in the transportation industry, an area his administration appears to target for apprenticeship development.
As Governor of New Jersey, Christ Christie has supported the expansion of apprenticeships in the state. He signed a proclamation recognizing a state apprenticeship week in 2016. He also invested $1.3 million in a first-of-its-kind Certified Alcohol And Drug Counselor Apprenticeship Program.
Presidential Candidates Whose Views are Unclear
Quite a few candidates do not have clear views on apprenticeships.
Marianne Williamson has not held office before and has no clear opinions on apprenticeships. Although she does focus heavily on the crisis of the cost of higher education.
As a Minnesota congressman, Dean Phillips supported the Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act of 2021 and focused on the high cost of education.
As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley never passed legislation or clearly supported any strong higher education positions. In 2016, however, she did call for a stronger focus on k-12 education reform and funding rather than SC state colleges.
In a recent interview, Vivek Ramaswamy supported vocational training rather than 4-year degrees to solve the worker shortage problem but has not commented on apprenticeships directly.
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