U.S. President Trump’s Remarks at American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting

East Room

2:55 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Nice to see you. Thank you very much. Busy time.

MS. TRUMP: Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: We’re making a lot of progress with the whole situation that came in from a place called China, as you probably know. You probably see. But we have a little work to do, and we’ll get it done. We’re having some very good numbers coming out in terms of the comeback — the comeback of our nation. And I think it’s going very rapidly and it’s going to be very good. But right now, we’re in that process of building.

And it’s an honor that you’re with us today. We very much appreciate it. I’m delighted to welcome members of the Workforce Policy Advisory Board. And I want to thank Ivanka; she works very hard on this board. She works very hard to get jobs. And it’s “Made in the USA” and jobs in the USA.

I saw a group of your people yesterday, having to do with ships. You’re involved in that partnership and it’s fantastic, what they’re doing in Wisconsin. It was really a great day.

The Secretary of Treasury is with us, and he’s worked very hard, and I think he’s got some very good things to say and some pretty big news.

And Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Labor Gene Scalia, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and Small Business Administrator — who has definitely kept busy — Jovita. Where is Jovita? Jovita. Good. Jovita Carranza.

Thanks also to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who’s done terrifically. Kim — hi, Kim.

GOVERNOR REYNOLDS: Good to see you.

THE PRESIDENT: Nice to see you. Thank you very much.

And Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana. And we always recognize Eric because he’s — how tall are you, Eric? (Laughter.) Little — he’s a pretty tall guy. Right? But we have one that’s a little taller. You know where that is? Alaska. You know that, right? You’re doing a great job. We appreciate it.

As well as the CEOs who have signed our Pledge to American Workers: Marillyn Hewson — thank you very much — of Lockheed Martin; Sebastian Thrun of Udacity; and Ginni Rometty of IBM. I want to thank you all. You’ve been really here from — from the beginning, very much from the beginning, and we appreciate it very much.

Together we built the greatest economy in history — and, literally, in the history of the world. Greatest we’ve ever had. The greatest the world has ever seen. And now we have to bring it back because we had to close in order to save millions of lives. We added 2.5 million jobs last month, which was incredible. A number — the largest monthly increase in history and more than double the previous record.

So we’re bringing it back. We had the greatest ever and we had to close it, and now we bring it back. And we start off with 2.5 million jobs in one month; I would say that’s pretty good, Marillyn. Right? That’s the highest ever done.

And then likewise, retail sales surged by nearly 18 percent last month. That was the biggest jump ever recorded. So that’s great.

The stock market is seeing you go back a week — one week. It’s the — saw the best 50 days in its history — best 50-day increase in the history of the stock markets.

Our Pledge to America’s Workers has secured commitments to over 16 million job and training opportunities from employers nationwide. And some of the employers are with us, and they’ve been fantastic.

I want to thank the American people for doing such an incredible job. They understand what’s happening, and they see how fast we’re turning it around. I want to just state that this is Americans of all backgrounds that we’re talking about, to have the chance — we want to get them the chance to learn and to build a successful career. We want to train Americans and we want to hire Americans. So we’re training American and we’re hiring American.

Before the pledge — and this is a very big factor. I mean, we have a — a problem that has about 22 different names, but I’ll just call it “the plague.” But before the plague struck, we had the lowest African American and Hispanic American, Asian American unemployment ever. We had the most jobs we’ve ever had, almost 160 million jobs. We’ve never been in a position like that. Women were thriving. Best numbers ever. And since my election, more than half of those jobs — more than half; first time that’s ever happened — went to women. But now we want to get that all back.

The African American group got hit very hard. The Hispanic American group got hit very hard. Essentially all groups got hit hard, but now it’s all coming back.

To further expand opportunity, I’m taking a bold action to reform the federal workforce. Today I’ll sign an executive order that directs the federal government to replace outdated — and really outdated — it’s called “degree-based hiring” — with skill-based hiring. So we want it based on skill.

The federal government will no longer be narrowly focused on where you went to school, but the skills and the talents that you bring to the job. We want that skill to be there. We want it based on merit. We’ve looked at merit for a long time, and we’ve been able to get that done.

And today’s signing is a very, very important one. I think maybe before I sign, I’ll ask Ivanka to say a few words. And then we’ll go around a little bit, we’ll pick a few people, and then we’ll sign, and we go back to work.

Thank you very much. Ivanka.

MS. TRUMP: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s an honor to have you here. We just convened our sixth meeting of our Workforce Advisory Board, and we got an update on the team’s response to your bold call to action.

First, we’re going to be launching — and Ginni Rometty, in partnership with Tim Cook, spearheaded this group — a massive advertising campaign that directs those that need to reskill, learn a new trade, to secure a job to the resources to enable them to do that. So we’re very excited about the launch of this private-sector-led and driven campaign to match Americans with the training they need, and ultimately the job vacancies that exist.

The advisory board is also creating a series of pilot programs — and Scott Pulsipher and Doug McMillon have been running these groups — where we really think about how we create the resumes of the future and allow people to find job vacancies based on skill — and for employers to connect with those unemployed workers, again, based on skill. So creating a lot more efficiency to that process.

You are once again leading by example here today with this EO signing. As the nation’s largest employer, we are always seeking to recruit and retain the best and the brightest to serve the American people. Last December, you fought for and secured paid leave for every federal worker — this was a first — creating a workplace that reflects our American values of work and family, and helping us retain our amazing talent.

It’s also why you fought so hard this spring, when COVID struck, to secure paid sick leave for Americans employed by small businesses and additional funding for child care providers helping millions and millions of Americans remain employed and providing relief to small businesses across the country. This is going to ensure a faster and stronger recovery.

Today, we’re taking that next step, as you mentioned, in signing an executive order that directs federal agencies to hire based on skills and knowledge, not just outdated degree requirements. This will allow us to better recognize the talents and competencies of all Americans we hire. You built once the most inclusive economy in this country’s history, and you’ll build it again.

Through our Pledge to America’s Workers, the private sector has committed to investing in the training and education of over 16 million American students and workers. And this continues, despite the vast change that — that the plague ushered in.

Companies like Udacity — Sebastian Thrun joins us today — have been leading the way, and they’ve been using their pledge commitment and fulfilling it by providing free tech training to American workers laid off as a result of COVID.

I recently had the opportunity to virtually meet one of the students that went through your program and received your scholarship in conjunction with the pledge, and it was incredible. His name was Tony. He was a lifelong truck driver. He owned his own business. It was a single rig that he had. Through a series of setbacks, the company ended up going under. He signed up for a course in tech, and is now a software engineer, providing for his family, absolutely loving what he does. And there are many, many stories like Tony that hopefully will inspire millions across the nation.

Marillyn Hewson, also an early pledge signer, of Lockheed Martin committed to hiring during the pandemic using virtual technology and other techniques to ensure recruitment processes move forward.

So with more people teleworking and learning from home than ever before, we have a lot to accomplish in the months ahead, and I’m really excited about your effort to extend this working group and to reform our federal hiring practices, as we think about building that inclusive American economy as we transition to greatness.

So, thank you for today. And it’s a pleasure to have you join us.

THE PRESIDENT: Great. Thank you very much, honey. Great job. It really has been. It’s been a labor of love.

MS. TRUMP: That’s true.

THE PRESIDENT: And Ivanka loves helping people. That’s a wonderful thing.

Marillyn, how about starting with you? Thank you.

MS. HEWSON: Well, thank you, Mr. President. It’s really an honor to serve on this policy board. And I must say, I agree with you: Advisor Trump — Ivanka Trump — and Secretary Ross have led us well. We’ve had a great effort over the last several meetings and put forward some strong recommendations that I help- — helped to match the skills together with the jobs that are there. And at Lockheed Martin, we’re proud that this year we’re on a path to hire 12,000 people. And a lot of it is around making sure that we are getting the kind of apprenticeships and scholarships and skills training for them so that they can link up to jobs in our operation.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you’ve done a great job. And I got to see it again. I mentioned it — it was so impressive what I saw — the whole group yesterday. It was really great to be there. And I didn’t know you had a big chunk of that one, but you’ve done very well with it, so we appreciate it.

Please, Sebastian. Please.

MR. THRUN: It’s a great honor to meet you. And I want to thank you for keeping us safe and moving us forward. This has been, of course, a vital time for all of us with over 30 million unemployed. It’s our chance to really redefine how education looks like and move into a world where people learn lifelong, have lifelong access, and unfold their livelihoods.

Ivanka was, of course, the visionary behind all of this. And thank you for doing this. I mentioned Tony Boswell — a truck driver who was driving trucks for 10 years, and then his truck broke down, and he couldn’t finance the new engine that he needed. He was unemployed, had no income, no education, and came across, by randomness, a Google scholarship that Udacity launched. And then, in 10 months’ time, was able to become a software engineer.

These are the stories that I believe this nation needs. I think we have so much opportunity, so much potential in this — in this great nation to bring people forward, and I think this is the time to do it.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great story. It’s a great story. Amazing story.

Ginni, please.

MS. ROMETTY: Yes. Well, first, Mr. President, thank you for your leadership during this time.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much.

MS. ROMETTY: And you used an important word when you described Ivanka’s contribution here as a “labor of love” because this is something — I think what the team has done collectively will have a very long-term impact, as well as short-term. And we are solving probably — or working towards helping solve one of the most important pro- — programs for growth for the country as well, so — to help anyone from any socio-economic background.

So I really — my hat is off and a thanks to Secretary Ross and to Ivanka for having led us through this. And I think what we have put on the table is substantive change, and I know it is a change to a company like mine.

So as you sign skills first, we’ve adopted that, and 15 percent of our hires last year were people from non-traditional backgrounds. And so it’s a — it’s really what this is all about, I think, in giving everyone a bright — a bright future in the digital era.

So thank you for that.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Ginni. Good job.

MS. ROMETTY: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Eric, go ahead, please.

GOVERNOR HOLCOMB: Well, I’ll just add my appreciation. I mean, what you’re doing today is leveling the playing field. And there’s been a lot of people, a lot of have-nots that will have an opportunity to join the haves. And to — to do it during a time of such challenge, but to recognize the opportunity that’s here, and to do it now — there couldn’t be a more important time.

So appreciate everyone’s effort around this table and your leadership on this front.

THE PRESIDENT: And Indiana is doing very well. I’m hearing good things.

GOVERNOR HOLCOMB: We are. We are moving in the right direction. We are — we’ve got 93,000 unfilled jobs right now —

THE PRESIDENT: Amazing.

GOVERNOR HOLCOMB: — that we need to fill. We’ve ushered in 100,000 jobs in just three and a half years; the previous record was 93,000 in four years. These are high-wage, high- demand jobs. These are $28, north, an hour.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.

GOVERNOR HOLCOMB: So this is what it’s all about –skilling up the workforce. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Great job. Thank you very much.

Kim.

GOVERNOR REYNOLDS: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And what I so appreciate about your administration is it’s really an administration of action. You identified barriers and gaps, and then you helped bring the right people together to find the solutions and enact those. So thank you very much.

It’s been an honor to be a part of this advisory board. I appreciate how, with the leadership of Ivanka and Secretary Ross, we really have identified the various elements, connected those elements — whether it’s been consistent data, definition, goals, and messaging. And I look forward to really amplifying that in the state of Iowa.

By executive order, I just created an economic task force. I brought several CEOs, business leaders, and nonprofits together to utilize their expertise in the way through innovation, adaptation, and creativity adjusted within weeks to the coronavirus.

And everything that this group has talked about will fold so well into what we’re trying to do at the state level. And when you think about that happening in every state across the country, we really are going to come back stronger and better and really help provide opportunities for every single American.

So thank you for leading it.

THE PRESIDENT: All right. And we see it now, Kim. Next year is going to be, we think, amazing, actually.

GOVERNOR REYNOLDS: Yep. I agree.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s going to be an amazing year.

Larry, would you like to say something?

MR. KUDLOW: Yeah. Thanks, sir. I spoke just before you came, but I’ll just repeat the “V” shaped recovery. Virtually every number is showing a “V” shaped recovery now — private surveys, government statistics, restaurants, home builders, truckers, durable goods makers, Apple mobility and travel, gasoline demand.

As you said, the jobs went up really about 3 million in May. We had tremendous retail sales. Actually, today, in the income report, we had tremendous consumer spending: 8 percent at an annual rate for one month. It’s a great story.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a great number. Yeah.

MR. KUDLOW: And I still think we’ll get 20 percent in the second half of the year. And if we get another 5 percent in the first quarter of next year, we will be right back to the peak in 2019, where you got us the first time with the growth policies.

And I just want to say: Ivanka, I gave you a big pitch, gave you — did the best I could. Private sector reskilling and retraining — and not only will people come back to the labor force when they’re reskilled; they’ll come back with higher wages, and they’ll come back with more confidence, and it’ll make a huge difference as it already has.

And so I’ve added you to the four pillars of growth. The President —

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. KUDLOW: Tax cuts —

THE PRESIDENT: Good taste.

MR. KUDLOW: — deregulation, energy unleashing, fair trade deals, and private-sector-led reskilling. How’s that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. That’s great. And I’m very happy what you said about early next year. I think next year is going to be an incredible year.

Thank you very much, Larry.

MR. KUDLOW: Appreciate it.

THE PRESIDENT: Wilbur, would you like to say something?

SECRETARY ROSS: Yes, Mr. President. Thank you for the opportunity to help Ivanka and the others on this group. I’ve been very, very impressed with the productivity of this advisory board. Most advisory boards create a big, thick book at the end. It goes in the library and nothing happens. This group, every single meeting, there’s a specific, tangible thing that gets filed up and it gets implemented.

So it’s really been a heartwarming thing to see how productive these folks have been, and I congratulate all of them.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Gene, please.

SECRETARY SCALIA: Thank you, Mr. President. And you mentioned the three and a half percent unemployment rate just a few months ago. You did so many things for the American worker during those three years.

You know, back in the summer of 2016, the Congressional Budget Office said that we’d be at 5 percent unemployment in February. They said that, between then and February 2020, they said we’d create 1.9 million jobs; we created 7 million jobs.

So Larry touched on it. It was — it was policies of tax cuts, of deregulation that brought us there, which was just a wonderful thing for the American worker as jobs were being created and wages were rising.

But there was other work going on. And what you see today is a manifestation of other things that were being done that are now going to have their day to really help workers. We — we are coming back. Larry has mentioned some of the numbers. But we know that the training will be important, and we’re fortunate that this really, very extraordinary group — and as Secretary Ross has said, a group that really generated valuable product — they were working quietly to help train American workers.

I spoke earlier about a new apprenticeship rule that we adopted at the Labor Department that I think will be very helpful. This will be an important part of the rebound.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Gene, very much. Appreciate it.

Steve, please.

SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Thank you, Mr. President. Well, as others said, your economic team, working with you, knew how to create jobs and it created an enormous amount. And because of this virus, we had to, unfortunately, shut down the economy.

We know how to reopen the economy safely. Working with Congress, we put $3 trillion in. It’s beginning to work; we see it. And we’re — our work isn’t going to be done until every single one of these jobs is done.

We know we need a few more tools. We’ll go back to Congress next month, but we’re going to get everybody back to work. And I’m confident we’re going to see a strong third and fourth quarter as we reopen.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great, Steve. Thank you very much.

Anybody else would like to say something? Anybody? Anybody? This is your chance. Go ahead. Please.

MS. ROLLINS: Mr. President, I just want to say, as your Domestic Policy Chief, what an extraordinary today — day today is, and here’s why: It’s not just the work of this council and the leadership of Ivanka, it is the executive order that you are about to sign that completely resets the playing field.

The federal government is the largest employer in the country, with 2 million employees. Two thirds of American adults do not have a college degree. Your signature that is recalibrating the workforce away from being degree-only to skillset is transformational.

And the opportunity for you to fight for all Americans — I think about Tony that Ivanka talked about; that Sebastian talked about from Udacity — from a truck driver, to a software engineer, next potentially into the federal government because of this executive order that is focusing on skills, rather than degrees.

Congratulations and thank you for your leadership. It’s extraordinary.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Anybody? Jovita.

ADMINISTRATOR CARRANZA: Yes, President Trump, thank you very much for your strong leadership.

You know, I sit in the audience here as part of a participate — participation of this particular advisory board, and I’m a recipient of the type of programs that you are actually implementing and supporting.

I started out as a box handler in a — in the world’s largest logistics company. And so when I hear everyone talk about the dedication of the workforce and establishing some really comprehensive training, I took advantage of every training opportunity there was in the private sector. And perhaps you’ll see another Administrator similar to me, based on the programs that you’re going to advocate and support.

And because of the public-private partnerships that this administration has enabled — the Paycheck Protection Program, just one example that has fortified small businesses, sustained their viability, and also protected their employees — a baseline of about 60 million employees. And so I thank you again for putting small businesses front and center.

And one other comment. I’m looking at all of these private sector companies — the super leaders in your various sectors. You are the primary contractors for the — the subcontractors that I represent as an advocate for Small Business Administration. So once you reinstate your viability, the small-business sector will then follow soon — soon after.

So thank you again, President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Jovita. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY DEVOS: Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Please.

SECRETARY DEVOS: I just appreciate your unrelenting focus on creating opportunity for all Americans, and that begins with opportunities in education. And I so appreciate your leadership there. And it’s been a privilege to be part of this, Ivanka. And, Secretary Ross, thank you for your work here.

We are privileged to carry out your vision in policy and action, as Governor Reynolds said. And thank you for your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT: Choice — how’s that going? Choice. Right?

SECRETARY DEVOS: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s what we want. Please.

MR. PULSIPHER: Yeah, I was just going to say thank you, Mr. President. From a university’s perspective, it’s often perceived as skills versus degrees. But in reality, in a skills-denominated future, it is that tide that lifts all boats. Because even those who possess degrees, they can better articulate the skills and competencies that they now have for the future of work.

And the reality is, too — is that it’s also more fair, it’s more equitable, it’s more prosperous for our workforce because what it really is, is it — it’s now about what you possess and what you can demonstrate, not how you acquired the competency and skill.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. PULSIPHER: And so it just creates much more of an equitable — equitable pathway. And WGU, as a competency-based education provider, has always been focused on how do you articulate the outcomes of achieving a degree in a skills and competency-based way so it’s much more aligned with the future of work. And so it is truly that tide that lifts all boats.

So, this is a huge step in the right direction. So, thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT: I agree with you 100 percent, I must say. I do.

Okay? Why don’t we sign? And this is a big deal. Congratulations to everybody in the room. This means a lot.

(The executive order is signed.)

Okay. We’ll do that for Marillyn. Who will take this?

(The President distributes a signing pen.)

(Applause.)

Thank you very much. (Inaudible.)

(The executive order is signed.)

Okay. That’s very good. We have pens for everybody. Here, honey. (Applause.) All right. Phase two. Thank you very much.

Well, thank you all very much. We appreciate it. This is really an important day for a lot of reasons. But this is one of them. Thank you all for being with us. We appreciate it very much. Thank you very much.

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