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US President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help all Americans find jobs.
Trump said he will remove federal restrictions that have prevented industries from creating apprenticeship programmes.
"We have regulations on top of regulations. And in history, nobody has gotten rid of so many regulations at the Trump administration. That's one of the reasons that you see the jobs and the companies all kicking in so strongly," he said at the White House.
The administration, he said, is also empowering companies, unions, industry groups, federal agencies to go out and create new apprenticeships for millions of citizens.
"Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees. Instead, apprentices earn while they learn - which is an expression we're using: Earn while you learn," Trump said.
According to the US president, there are a lot of companies moving into this country. "We just signed a big deal yesterday for hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment and military equipment going to be made in this country, in our country, for other countries," he said.
"We've got it going. We have to make sure the people are here and they're going to be well trained," Trump said.
US Labour Secretary Alex Acosta said the president knows that apprenticeship programs offer demand-based skills and good, stable jobs with reduced or no student debt.
"And the president knows that apprenticeship programs offer the best way of reducing the skills gap," he said.
According to Acosta, there is a huge demand supply gap in the employment market.
"This skills gap is a particular challenge in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy: financial services, health care and information technology. The skills gap also persists in other sectors," he said.
Noting that many American workers are being left behind as current education and training programs fail to equip them with the skills they need, the White House said apprenticeships will not only keep jobs in America, but ensure that American workers and trained and hired to fill those jobs.
Despite many available job vacancies, millions of American workers do not have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to thrive in a 21st century economy, the White House said in a fact sheet.
"There are 6 million vacant jobs in the United States, the highest number since 1980," it said, adding that according to a 2014 Georgetown University study, by 2020, some form of education or training beyond high school will be required for 65 per cent of all jobs.
In his remarks, Trump said apprenticeships teach striving Americans the skills they need to operate incredible machines.
"The strength of our nation will be determined by our ability to keep jobs in America, and we're going to keep them in America. You're not going to have companies fleeing like in the past," he said.
"There's going to be a big price to pay for companies that want to leave, fire their workers, build a plant outside of this country, and think they're going to sell their product right back into the United States. There's going to be a big price to pay," he warned.