Fac­tory CEOs tell Trump: Jobs Ex­ist, Skilled Ap­pli­cants Don’t

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Wash­ing­ton: Pres­i­dent Trump brought two dozen chief ex­ec­u­tives of man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies to the White House on Thurs­day and de­clared their col­lec­tive com­mit­ment to restor­ing fac­tory jobs lost to for­eign com­pe­ti­tion. Yet some of the CEOs sug­gested that there were still plenty of open­ings for US fac­tory jobs but too few qual­i­fied peo­ple to fill them. They urged the White House to sup­port vo­ca­tional train­ing for the high­tech skills that to­day’s man­u­fac­tur­ers in­creas­ingly re­quire — a topic Trump has sel­dom ad­dressed.

“The jobs are there, but the skills are not,” one ex­ec­u­tive said dur­ing meet­ings with White House of­fi­cials that pre­ceded a ses­sion with the pres­i­dent. (Re­porters were per­mit­ted to at­tend the meet­ings on the con­di­tion of not quot­ing in­di­vid­ual ex­ec­u­tives by name.)

The dis­cus­sion of job train­ing and worker skills is a rel­a­tively new one for Trump, who cam­paigned for the White House on prom­ises to re­store man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs that he said had been lost over flawed trade deals and un­fair com­pe­ti­tion from coun­tries like Mex­ico and China. Again and again, Trump brought up that theme in his meet­ing with the CEOs. “Ev­ery­thing is go­ing to be based on bring­ing our jobs back,” Trump said. “The good jobs, the real jobs. They’ve left.”

White House of­fi­cials said Trump heard the ex­ec­u­tives’ con­cerns about a short­age of qual­i­fied work­ers. The of­fi­cials said Trump sup­ports ef­forts to in­crease train­ing for fac­tory jobs, but they didn’t pro­vide de­tails.

“We were chal­lenged by the pres­i­dent to come up with a pro­gramme to make sure the Amer­i­can worker is trained for the man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs of to­mor­row,” Reed Cordish, a White House of­fi­cial, said af­ter Thurs­day’s meet­ings.

Trump of­fi­cials said the meet­ings were in­tended to pro­vide the White House with ideas in four ar­eas: taxes and trade; reg­u­la­tory re­form; in­fra­struc­ture; and the “work­force of the fu­ture,” in­clud­ing ad­vanced train­ing. Pro­posed so­lu­tions may be in­cluded in fu­ture pres­i­den­tial ex­ec­u­tive or­ders or leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als, a White House of­fi­cial said. The gath­er­ing oc­curred amid the same kind of jovially in­for­mal at­mos­phere that has pre­vailed in sev­eral meet­ings Trump has held with CEOs in the four weeks since his in­au­gu­ra­tion. Most of the ex­ec­u­tives thanked the pres­i­dent for reach­ing out to them, and sev­eral ex­pressed grat­i­tude for his in­ter­est in meet­ing them face to face.

PEO­PLE PROB­LEM: Ivanka Trump joins Don­ald Trump as he holds a meet­ing with ex­perts on ad­dress­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing, in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day — Reuters

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