President’s Plan to Expand Apprenticeships Rekindles ‘Skills Gap’ Debate

In Economy, Education On

“We applaud the Department of Labor and the administration for being willing to look at how to craft this in a way that brings apprenticeships to a new range of audiences,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, which oversees the industry group’s apprenticeship programs.

Mr. Gifford gave credit to the Obama administration for making industries like his eligible for apprenticeship funding. The restaurant industry group won a contract worth up to about $9.75 million under the Obama-era program to create apprenticeships that would run from six months to two years and help candidates for management positions acquire skills in such areas as accounting and sanitation practices.

But Mr. Gifford said that streamlining regulations could make apprenticeship programs even more effective.

The administration’s interest in apprenticeships stands in contrast to the cutbacks for other forms of job training in its budget proposal, involving far larger sums. The Association of Community College Trustees said that while it welcomed Thursday’s move, it remained worried about “the severe cuts proposed to federal work force and education programs.”

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