On Tuesday, the Trump administration will unveil a new carpentry apprenticeship program, promising to help the country’s working-class workers find jobs that require skills that can be applied to building the countrys future infrastructure.
“This is a chance for American workers to earn a second shot at the American dream,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement announcing the apprenticeship.
“The apprenticeship is a program that will give workers who have already demonstrated their carpentry skills a second chance at a new career, so they can continue to grow and build America’s future,” Chao said.
The Trump administration also announced an expansion of the federal H-1B visa program, which allows companies to bring in foreign workers.
The move was made to help with the influx of foreign workers to fill jobs at construction sites, which are increasingly dominated by foreigners.
“These new opportunities are not available to workers from other countries, and they are not accessible to workers who cannot meet the skills and knowledge standards needed for construction work,” Trump said in his announcement.
A White House official said in an email that the apprenticeships will “provide an opportunity for high-skill, highly skilled, and high-paying construction jobs to be created.”
But the administration’s focus on the apprentices is a bit odd given the number of companies that have recently been hit with labor unrest, which has seen workers demand wages that exceed the wages of their foreign counterparts.
The number of workers who are currently facing wage increases has been rising at a rate of 10.7 percent annually since February, according to the Labor Department.
The average increase in wages has been 12.3 percent, according a report by the AFL-CIO.
According to the National Employment Law Project, more than 5 million construction jobs have been lost in the past year due to a labor unrest wave.
“Many of these workers have been unemployed for years and their jobs are no longer being filled,” said Jodi Durbin, senior policy adviser for the NELP.
“The Trump Administration is taking this issue very seriously.
We hope that the administration will continue to push for the full and fair adoption of H-2B visas.”
The announcement comes just a week after the administration announced it will allow the construction industry to hire foreign workers, as well as to hire new foreign workers who will work on construction projects with an American owner.
The administration also plans to boost the number and number of H1-B visas available to construction companies.
In an interview with ABC News, Chao said she hopes that the new H-5 visa program will allow Americans to “build the country we want to be, and not just a low-wage, low-skill job that’s taken away from people who need it most.”