Trump to trumpet apprentice program


Los Angeles Times (TNS)

WASHINGTON

To reduce unemployment, President Donald Trump will focus this week on something he knows well – apprentices.

He starred on the reality TV shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice.” But Trump also has long experience with apprenticeship programs in construction and other building trades from his years as a real-estate developer, the White House said.

Now Trump wants to encourage more apprenticeship programs in other fields to help give workers the skills they need to fill some of the 6 million job openings in the U.S., administration officials said.

The effort will be centered on encouraging workforce-training partnerships between businesses and schools, and apparently will not include additional federal money.

“The reality is that there are still Americans seeking employment despite low unemployment rates, and companies are struggling to fill vacancies that require various levels of skills and training,” said Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and one of his advisers.

The administration will launch “a series of initiatives” and will call on Congress “to pass reforms expanding apprenticeships and raise awareness about the fact there are important, very viable career paths outside of the traditional four-year college experience,” she said.

Ivanka Trump and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will join the president Trump for three events next week on workforce development with a particular emphasis on apprenticeships – programs in which people learn skills from experienced workers while getting paid.

Less than 0.2 percent of workers have participated in apprenticeship programs. But 90 percent of those who did had jobs waiting with an average salary of about $60,000 a year, Acosta said.

Associated Press

CLEVELAND

A proposed bailout for Ohio’s two nuclear power plants that would lead to rate increases for FirstEnergy customers appears to be stalled in the Legislature.

One legislative committee considering the idea suspended testimony last month amid protests against the plan while another committee had its fourth hearing this week without taking a vote.

Much of the written testimony submitted to lawmakers opposes a plan that could lead to $300 million a year in new charges for FirstEnergy customers.

FirstEnergy’s average residential customer would pay about $5 more per month, while businesses and factories would see much larger increases if the Legislature approves the bailout.

The Akron-based utility says subsidies are needed to save the Davis-Besse and Perry plants, which sit along Lake Erie and produce 14 percent of the state’s electricity. The company has said the plants might be sold even if subsidies are approved.

The plants are vital tax generators for rural towns near them, providing millions of dollars for school districts and local governments. The Benton-Carroll-Salem school district east of Toledo could lose $8 million a year if Davis-Besse closes.

Like many nuclear plants in the U.S., Davis-Besse and Perry are aging, are costly to operate and maintain and face stiff competition from utilities producing power with cheap natural gas.

Some nuclear plants have already closed. Power companies have said they will shut down other plants if they don’t get help.

The Ohio Senate may not vote on the proposal until fall, said Sen. Bill Beagle, a Tipp City Republican who chairs the Public Utilities Committee.

And the proposal may not be voted on by the House. Rep. Bill Seitz, who chairs the House Utilities Committee, said in May he would not hold more hearings.

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