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Op-Ed: Wilbur Ross: White House creating good jobs for workers

FROM DAY one, the Trump administration has fulfilled its promise to create good jobs for American workers. I have come to Virginia Beach today to highlight President Donald Trump’s signature efforts to make good on that promise: the Pledge to America’s Workers and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

The Trump administration’s economic success is providing significant benefits to the Virginia economy. The commonwealth’s GDP is exhibiting fantastic growth under this president, growing a remarkable 3.1% from Q4 2017 to Q4 2018. Since he took office in January 2017, unemployment in Virginia dropped from 4% to 3% as more than 127,000 more Virginians found jobs in the booming economy.

This job growth has brought 84,000 Virginians into the labor force, attracted by higher wages nationwide that resulted from an advantageous job market. President Trump promised job growth that would benefit all Americans, and he is delivering in Virginia and across the country. Virginia Beach added nearly 12,000 jobs as unemployment fell from 4.2% to a remarkable 2.8% between January 2017 and May. The city added 397 new businesses from the beginning of 2017 to the end of last year, according to the latest data available. Both weekly and annual wages are growing for area workers.

This outstanding job growth underscores one of the challenges standing in the way of an otherwise booming economy — our tight labor market. To ensure that all Americans are prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs and that the historic economic expansion continues, President Trump has called on his administration to create the first-ever National Workforce Strategy. It is essential that this strategy responds to the needs of business and America’s workers.

To that end, he created the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which I co-chair with Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. The board was created by executive order in July 2018 and brings together 25 of our top leaders from business, education, organized labor, state and local governments, trade associations, and non-profits to build out the National Workforce Strategy. The board is currently working on recommendations for the president to promote the many pathways to good careers, provide greater jobs data transparency, increase skills-based hiring, and measure and encourage employer-led training.

The Pledge to America’s Workers, a core component of that effort, is already a resounding success. The pledge celebrates and encourages an invisible cornerstone of the U.S. education and training system employer-provided training. Through apprenticeships, university and community college classes, boot camps, on-the-job training, online learning, and many other paths, American companies are increasing the skills of millions of workers.

Already, more than 280 companies and organizations have pledged nearly 10 million enhanced training and career opportunities for American students and workers over the next five years. By building worker training programs tailored to their needs, both employers and prospective employees win.

Elsewhere in Virginia, Northrop Grumman pledged 7,500 new opportunities; Leidos promised 2,125; DXC Technology committed another 2,000; Capital Concrete pledged 100; and Lockheed Martin pledged 8,000 new opportunities for training and workforce advancement. National companies such as Walmart and FedEx have pledged more than 1.5 million opportunities across the country, including many in Virginia.

The Trump administration is fulfilling its promise to create good jobs for American workers. Over the next five years, millions of American workers will be equipped with the skills they need to grow and thrive in the modern economy. Through our work, and that of the Trump administration, all Americans will benefit from the country’s economic success.

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