Presidential advisor and businesswoman Ivanka Trump has a plan to put more Americans into good-paying jobs and onto a path of promising careers.
It's not sending more kids to college to earn a degree they may never obtain and in a field for which they can't find work.
Ivanka Trump wants to expand skills-based education in the U.S. to help students and workers more easily and quickly secure the skills and credentials they need to obtain unfilled jobs today and the jobs that will be around tomorrow.
Trump laid out the administration's broad efforts to help retool Americans plans recently:
"In addition to the many administrative actions we have taken to advance workforce development, the president’s recent infrastructure proposal, sent to Congress last month, would greatly amplify and expand this effort.
"Our infrastructure plan calls on Congress to refine and reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act; expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality, short-term programs; and reform licensing requirements for individuals seeking an infrastructure project job."
Trump also explains how changes to a federal working-while-you learn program will benefit more students:
"… our plan seeks to improve the Federal Work-Study Pr-gram by better distributing funds to the schools and students who need them most, and by creating more opportunities for participants to obtain relevant workplace experience that will place them on a better path to meet their career goals."
What Ivanka Trump and the Trump administration are advocating for is a change to how we think about higher education and learning in our nation.
For decades the philosophy that a four-year college degree is the path to a job and middle-class life has dominated in our society. Sadly, that has been to the detriment of trades and other paths which don't require a degree.
While a degree does lift your earnings potential, college is not the best plan for every student. It's also very costly to earn a degree today.
Students and parents are no longer swallowing the notion that you have to load up on debt now to secure a brighter future. As my colleague Carrie Lukas explains, colleges and universities are forced to demonstrate their value to families. Those which cannot show how they are preparing their students for work and life are closing. This winnowing among private and public schools is a welcome example of the market at work.
Some students flourish in vocations and trades that require certifications and training rather at a college pursuing a liberal arts degree. They pursue opportunities in the medical field, cosmetology, construction, and home maintenance and repair for example. There are also enterprising young people who want to start their own business right out of high school.
Middle-level and older workers looking to change careers or those who have been out of work also need the training to gain the skills needed to obtain the jobs that are available.
We know that the unemployment rate is low, but as Ivanka pointed out, 6.3 million job openings remain unfilled right now in our country and that is the highest number on record.
Skills-based training promises to help close the gap between the jobs that are available and the skill level of our workforce.
Let's not forget that state and local governments also have a role to play in reducing the red tape and requirements needed to secure work in occupations. Obtaining certifications can be costly and time-consuming with no demonstrated health or safety rationale.
Pairing reforms to vocational training with an expansion of skills-based training will help our workforce gain the skills they need and the licensure required to work. (Read more about occupational licensing reforms)
At the White House's Millennial Summit last week, Ivanka Trump and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta trumpeted theses approach as important ways to get Americans to work. We agree.