OK after listening to the White House briefing live, I am VERY confused about Alexander Acosta, Labor Secretary, and his bizarre announcement for a seemingly nonexistent new program. Let’s break it down:
1. He acknowledged that 90% or more of vacant positions of employment are for highly skilled positions in healthcare and information technologies.
2. He acknowledged that this is an issue of a skills gap and not the unemployment rate.
3. He tried to connect the skills gap that he just said has left many highly technical positions open to the “forgotten Americans” in rural areas who have lost their blue-collar jobs over the years.
4. When asked how this was different from Obama’s workforce plan he just said that they were scaling it up by involving the private sector and referenced how construction companies invest in their apprenticeship programs (again, a blue-collar industry).
5. When explaining that there are high paying apprenticeships he compared an apprentice job paying $65000/year which was much higher than a new college graduate…so why would these companies pay more salary to train someone who hasn’t finished their education when they could pay less for someone who has?
6. When asked if we are relying on the private sector to invest in itself then why are they not already using these apprenticeship programs, he said “I don’t want to speak for the CEO’s because they haven’t actually told me why they aren’t using these programs”…which seems like a question that should have been asked first.
7. When asked if there would be any tax cut or other incentives to push these companies to do this he said that these CEO’s are telling the administration that they are eager to increase opportunities to learn on the job…BUT HE JUST SAID THAT THEY HAVEN’T TOLD HIM WHY THEY ARE NOT DOING THIS ALREADY!!! So if they are so eager for this, and they are going to be using their own money, why would they even need to be asked to do this more?
8. The worst part is that the man was asked at least four times how SPECIFICALLY they would accomplish this and if the details would be laid out in some type of executive order or proposal to which he kept responding, “We will engage the private sector more than ever before”…is this sounding just as empty as “Hope”, “Change”, “Drain the Swamp”, or “Build the Wall” to anyone but me?
I would seriously chew off my right arm if just ONE person in Washington, D.C. could give a straight answer!
Photo Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP