Michael D. Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), has been appointed by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, created by President Trump’s June 15 Executive Order 13801.
“I am excited to join Secretary Acosta’s task force to expand opportunities to citizens nationwide who want to live the American Dream while helping to build and rebuild our country,” said Bellaman. “As the president promised in his election night acceptance speech, every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential under his administration. That sentiment will drive this task force as we work to promote affordable education and rewarding jobs for all Americans.”
According to the order, the task force will submit to the president strategies and proposals focused on four areas:
- Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeships;
- Administrative and legislative reforms facilitating the formation and success of apprenticeship programs;
- The most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships; and
- The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeships.
The task force’s membership represents a wide range of American companies as well as trade, industry and educational groups. The task force comes at a critical time for industries like construction, which employs about 7.5 million people. By ABC’s estimates, the construction industry needs to hire 500,000 skilled workers to fill a backlog of existing jobs. That number could balloon to more than one million job vacancies if Congress and the president approve a $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Reducing barriers to meet the needs of the construction industry and America’s workforce is vital to fill this gap.
“This is an opportune moment for the next generation of American workers and a valuable step for the American economy,” Bellaman said. “Regardless of their access to higher education, all Americans deserve the chance to acquire a variety of skills that can lead to high-paying and fulfilling careers. I am ready to collaborate with my task force colleagues to recommend to the Trump administration the most effective strategies to expand apprenticeship opportunities for all Americans.”