Ivanka Trump, Sec. Ross to present presidential awards to companies keeping 'Pledge to America's Workers'

The Trump administration conceived of the jobs pledge long before the coronavirus pandemic

White House adviser Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will present the inaugural Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Awards to companies including Volkswagen Group of America and Lockheed Martin at the White House on Wednesday.

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“Through the White House’s Pledge to America’s Workers, the Trump administration challenged the private sector to make a major investment in the education and training of their workers to ensure Americans have the skills necessary to remain the best in the world," Ivanka Trump said in a statement. "On behalf of the President, I am honored to award nine extraordinary organizations the Pledge to America’s Workers Award for their commitment to the exceptionalism of the American worker and for their steadfast resolve to equip their employees with the tools to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

IVANKA TRUMP, GM'S MARY BARRA VISIT AUTOMAKER'S MICHIGAN TECHNICAL TRAINING FACILITY

The seven other companies being recognized range from the hospitality industry to aerospace defense. They are the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Retail Federation, Northrop Grumman, Oberg Industries, Textron and Zurich North America.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
VWAGYVOLKSWAGEN AG15.57-0.26-1.64%
NOCNORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION289.82-2.57-0.88%
LMTLOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION350.13-2.31-0.66%

“We are honored to receive the Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Award during a time when supporting our workforce has never been more critical,” Chip Rogers, head of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a statement. “Our industry is doing all we can to survive, and yet, we are resilient and committed to advancing our workforce by expanding the work of the AHLA Foundation, our career development programs, and scholarship grants to help our employees get one step ahead once travel resumes."

Most of the recipients have pledged to offer thousands or hundreds of thousands of training opportunities. For example, Lockheed Martin pledged $100 million over five years to employee training and education after signing the Pledge to America's Workers in 2018.

The administration is also touting the Associated Builders and Contractors, which pledged to educate at least 500,000 construction workers starting in 2018, for overshooting its goal and investing $1.5 billion to educate more than 1.1 million course attendees.

Daughter and adviser of President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump waves to the crowd as she arrives to participate in the Phoenix Business Roundtable with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The group's state chapters from Iowa to New Mexico have trained hundreds of construction apprentices. In addition, the Associated Builders and Contractors' Chicago-focused Community Builders Program specializes in preparing students with no prior experience to get jobs as skilled craftsmen.

Lockheed Martin Executive Chairman Marillyn Hewson and IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty are expected to attend the White House event. IBM is not one of the nine award recipients, but Rometty has worked closely with Trump on the White House's Workforce Policy Advisory Board. IBM is expected to share more about its use of blockchain technology to create a digital credentialing system for workers, which Rometty detailed in a FOX Business op-ed earlier in September.

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The administration conceived its jobs pledge long before the coronavirus pandemic and has pushed jobseekers to rethink the four-year degree pathway by emphasizing skills over degrees. However, the White House's American Workforce Policy Advisory Board took heat for its “Find Something New” job training campaign that launched in July amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The administration's "Pledge to America's Workers" encourages businesses and groups to create opportunities for workers, including apprenticeships, continuing education, on-the-job-training and retraining. More than 440 companies have signed the pledge, which the administration says translates to more than 16 million job training opportunities.

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