U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross talks about a White House workforce development program that aims to bridge the skills gap for American workers, and shares insight to President Trump’s trade agenda.
Wilbur Ross On White House Workforce Development Program And Trade
Actually what we're going to do is get a very very active involvement by the private sector. They're the ones who have to fill the skills gap. They're the ones who need the workers because right there we have actually more job openings than we have unemployed people. And part of the reason for that is that they lack the skills the unemployed people. So we've got to have a mechanism for giving them the equivalent of apprenticeship and other education. The the facts when you look at them are daunting because the type of jobs that were around not just 30 years ago but even five or 10 years ago have totally changed in our education system at this point started. It never goes above 25 years old does it. So there's a whole group of able bodied workers that maybe is reflected in that low participation rate because they don't have the skills for today's. General it's true that's reason 38 percent of the work force age people are not actively in the workforce. So I think a lot of it is they just don't have the skill and there's automation coming and there's there's so many pressures on the American worker. And we've tried in the past. We've got it right. We've got 40 different job training firms spread across how many different companies involved. It's mind boggling. It's kind of a an example of the bureaucracy and sort of the slowness of the government because it hasn't been that effective the results have not. You know for the money that's been spent the results aren't there.
This could streamline one of the big problems with government as they look to create new entities but they never measure performance in private sector. You'd never let a thing just keep going forever without measuring was it accomplishing the job. Another thing that occurred to me Wilbur is that we all want to get Democrats obviously want to train people they want everyone to have a job. But in this case if you don't help the people that are working the economy GDP is going to be slower than it would be if you did have there's a way that it's is a win win for everybody involved because it's holding back the employment rate could be even lower. If we if these people had the skills for the six million jobs that aren't filled right now. Well for sure look GDP growth is a function of several things population growth workforce growth workforce anticipation productivity for productivity you need skills. So for Republicans you're not you're not going to hear all of this is another government program we're going to throw money at. It's actually something that they could help. It's a growth initiative that can help GDP. It could help lower the employment rate and everybody would. Well this is not something that's going to spend a lot of government money that will be the advisory group from industry from academia that will help us come up with ideas how to do. But we do not visualize this being a multibillion dollar spending will be needed. You've got commitments lined up already. And I know there was a goal and a vonka is going to talk about this later.
But but corporations are stepping up and that's going to be reflected today and who comes down here and some of the pledges that you're seeing. It surely will be. I think it's going to come in the same way the thousand dollar bonuses caught on when we put through the tax bill for corporations. I think you're going to see a groundswell of big American companies signing literally a pledge sheet that they will take on many more apprentices. Let's talk can we talk trade talk. Auto tariffs talk what's happening. There's things happening on the out of that arena today. In fact today we have public hearings we have for some people from the auto.