President Trump is expected to argue this week that he prioritizes workforce development but, as we’ve detailed here and here, his budget consistently and substantially cuts a range of training and education programs aimed at preparing people for, and helping people secure, good jobs. The Trump budget would:
The budget would also cut other Labor Department job training grants, including a 47 percent cut to the national fund that assists workers dislocated by large events such as natural disasters and mass layoffs, and the elimination of job training grants for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
These cuts would very likely grow considerably after 2018, as the budget proposes much deeper cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending — the budget category that covers job training, as well as a broad set of public services, investments in our economy, and initiatives that promote opportunity — over the next decade.
President Trump proposes these cuts despite bipartisan 2014 legislation to strengthen these job training programs, and despite widespread recognition that today’s jobs require workers with more skills.
To demonstrate his interest in workforce development, President Trump will reportedly tout apprenticeship programs and emphasize that his budget would reorganize existing workforce development programs to make them more efficient. Apprenticeship programs are important and should be expanded, but they’re just one part of a workforce development strategy. Moreover, the budget devotes only $90 million to apprenticeship programs, the same as in 2016 and 2017 and less than 5 percent of the Labor Department’s training and employment services budget. And “reorganization” and “efficiency” are terms that policymakers often use to put a positive spin on their proposed program cuts, and the President’s proposal to sharply cut the nation’s primary job training programs (which, as noted, have been recently refreshed in a bipartisan effort) by two-fifths is further evidence that we should ignore such spin.