American workers are about to up their game

IBM, FedEx and Lockheed Martin are on board to help President Trump’s push to develop a roadmap to make sure American workers get the training they need to boost their skills for the fast-moving workplace here in the U.S. and around the globe. The push is expected to create as many as half a million opportunities.

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Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson is among those business leaders who recognize that not only are more workers needed, these workers need to have the right skills.

“Leaders from businesses, large and small, have long warned about the growing “skills gap” – the shortage of workers with the training and education needed to fill the science and technology jobs of the 21st century,” she writes in an opinion piece for Fox News. “For those of us in the aerospace and defense industry, this shortage has a clear, real-world impact,” she adds.

A worker shortage comes at a time when the defense business is on the upswing.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LMTLOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION339.88+0.21+0.06%
BABOEING COMPANY205.84-1.57-0.76%

Lockheed manufactures F-35 fighter jets, the U.S. military’s most expensive program. Earlier this week, the Pentagon reached a “handshake deal” with the defense contractor, as detailed by FOX Business. The deal, announced by the Pentagon’s head of acquisitions Ellen Lord, is for 141 jets. Although Lord did not detail the price of the contract, she did say F-35 program prices continue to come down.

Over at rival Boeing, among other projects, it’s working on the new $3.9 billion Air Force One contract to refurbish two 747-8 aircraft. “It’s a very complex project,” said Trump during an interview with CBS News earlier this week. “By the time it gets built you will have many presidents hopefully use it and enjoy it,” he added. Trump also said the planes will get a new look, red, white and blue, explained by FOX Business.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
IBMINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.118.61-13.04-9.91%
FDXFEDEX CORPORATION254.09+0.09+0.04%
JCIJOHNSON CONTROLS INTERN52.35+0.17+0.33%

Johnson Controls, which makes numerous products, including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and fire alarms, has already partnered with Lincoln Tech, a leading provider of specialized technical training, to provide expanded career opportunities for graduates and help lay the foundation for the workforce of the future by providing the essential training needed to be successful in a technical career, writes Johnson Controls CEO George Oliver for FOX Business.

Projects like these are examples of why the White House is pushing to shape up the American workforce via its “Pledge to America's Workers". The goal is to create about 500,000 “new opportunities” across many industries, according to Ivanka Trump, who is helping spearhead the initiative.

The president signed an executive order on Thursday to boost training and vocational opportunities, which included establishing a a national council for the American Workforce.

This could help boost U.S. job growth even more. Since the 2016 election, over 3.4 million jobs have been created and unemployment is hovering at a 18-year low of 4%.

Fox News contributed to this report. 

Suzanne O'Halloran is Managing Editor of FOXBusiness.com and is a graduate of Boston College. Follow her on Twitter @suzohalloran