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ABC President Tapped for Apprenticeship Task Force

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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The task force needed to implement President Donald J. Trump’s executive order on apprenticeships is taking shape, and now includes president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Michael D. Bellaman.

Bellaman was appointed by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, a necessary component of Executive Order 13801, signed in mid-June.

The order aims to increase funding for apprenticeships, but before that can happen, the task force will submit a few deliverables, including strategies and proposals focused on four main areas, including:

  • Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships;
  • Administrative and legislative reforms facilitating the formation and success of apprenticeship programs;
  • The most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships; and
  • The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.

“I am excited to join Secretary Acosta’s task force to expand opportunities to citizens nationwide who want to live the American Dream while helping to build and rebuild our country,” said Bellaman.

“As the president promised in his election night acceptance speech, every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential under his administration. That sentiment will drive this task force as we work to promote affordable education and rewarding jobs for all Americans.”

The task force will represent the wide range of American companies in addition to trade, industry and educational groups.


Tagged categories: Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC); Department of Labor; Education; Good Technical Practice; North America; President Trump; Worker training

Comment from Jesse Melton, (10/18/2017, 11:46 AM)

Ugh. The vocational elements of education in the US were stripped out of the system decades ago. Apprenticeships are pointless if kids have no concept of mechanical aptitude or spatial relationships. There are two generations of people that want to design things, but don't understand scale or even how to change the tire on their car. I'd rather see model railroad enthusiasts on the panel than another lobbying group. At least the model making crowd can use screwdrivers and understand why you can't put fasteners in unreachable places.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/19/2017, 8:02 AM)

My high school had roughly 1,000 students. We had a full auto shop, machine shop, wood shop and cooking curriculum (at least 4 semesters of each available) in addition to the standard college track and AP classes - one of my most beneficial "electives" was taking a semester of typing, despite being almost the only guy in the class.

Comment from Phil Kabza, (10/19/2017, 8:44 AM)

Tom - I agree! I've made my living "typing" for the last 25 years as a specifications consultant. But in an earlier life, I entered the industry as a carpenter. The finest carpenters I ever worked with had gone through the union apprenticeship program. Those were the people who knew how to train young mechanics to become competent tradespeople, who then obtained jobs that supported families who could afford to buy homes. Whenever I hear contractors crying about not being able to hire competent workers or obtain quality work, bear in mind all the efforts to suppress unions and wages in this country since 1980. You reap what you sow. Expect nothing of this Federal program.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (10/19/2017, 11:03 AM)

Jesse, I agree with your assessment of the education is very similar in Canada. I do, however, think it goes even further. How many kids these days play with Lego, build "real" forts, treehouses, rafts or similar. Heck, physical activity...little on physical activity that has a future practical quickly vanishing from the lives of 1st world children, especially when coupled with helicopter parenting and electronics. I was fortunate to have a comprehension of how things went together and enough experience in my youth with taking stuff apart and building stuff that I can jump in and do some light carpentry, auto repair, home repair and such. It would be great if these Task Forces actually accomplished something, but I don't have high hopes.

Comment from Jesse Melton, (10/20/2017, 6:18 PM)

Even before the Bush II era educational reforms like the No Teacher Left Standing Act things were a mess. My school, in accordance with the then current State curriculum (similar to most other states during that time) divided students into "college bound" and "vocational" tracks. The really bad thing was that you couldn't intermingle between tracks. I had a fortunate family and a set of very hands on parents through whom I learned vocational skills and eventually fairly advanced mathematics. Otherwise I would have been just another one of the last few generations of engineering graduates that have no experience with anything physical. Which is disastrous societally and from an employment perspective. The program also eliminated the chances of an individual with mechanical aptitude but not so great with math from actually learning math. It was something of a self fulfilling prophecy that kids on the vocational track didn't go to college. Even those brave enough to apply often couldn't pass the entrance exams and were told they'd need an extra year or two of remedial classes before learning other things. Not very many 18 year old kids can envision things that far in the future. It was a terrible practice and millions of kids, some with kids about to graduate high school, were disenfranchised and forced to participate in a caste system where vocational kids were, effectively, untouchables. It was and is very sad.

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