News & Politics

5 Reasons Trump's 'Workforce Development Week' Was an Unmitigated Disaster

It's been all downhill since Ivanka's disastrous appearance on "Fox & Friends."

Photo Credit: ivankatrump / Instagram

After "infrastructure week" quickly turned into "Comey week," the White House remains desperate to get the Trump train on track. But "Workforce Development Week" has already gotten off to a rocky start. Here are five reasons why.

1. Ivanka's Labor Violations

First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump kicked off "Workforce Development Week" with a Monday appearance on "Fox and Friends," President Trump's favorite morning show. But despite her mention of her upcoming visit to a Wisconsin technical school with her father, the conversation made headlines primarily for her lament of the "viciousness" facing President Trump (ironically) as he attempts to take away health insurance from upwards of 23 million people.

The timing couldn't have been worse. A bombshell report exposing the desperate lives of workers making clothing for Ivanka Trump's label then dropped Tuesday. After speaking to more than a dozen workers in Subang, Indonesia, the Guardian found that employees at the fashion label’s factory are "paid so little they cannot live with their children... [It's] one of the lowest minimum wages in Asia, and there are claims of impossibly high production targets and sporadically compensated overtime."

2. Turmoil Within

President Trump's long-overdue first full Cabinet meeting was dominated by team members' excessive praise of The Donald—a clear indicator of poor management and concern for another potential shakeup

3. Republicans' Hidden Health Bill

Before his tour of Waukesha County Technical College, President Trump gave a brief health care speech on the tarmac shortly after arriving in Wisconsin. After introducing two Wisconsin couples "victimized by Obamacare," Trump complained about the replacement bill's lack of Democratic support.

"No matter how good it is, we will get no obstructionist Democrat votes," he insisted. "No matter how good it is—if it’s the greatest health care plan ever devised, we will get zero votes by the obstructionists, the Democrats."

But Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) deftly debunked Trump's claims in a live local broadcast.

Baldwin "told us today she cannot vote no or yes on a Senate plan because nobody knows what's in it," explained anchor Carole Meekins on TMJ4 Milwaukee.

"There have been no hearings," Baldwin confirmed. "There are no hearings scheduled. There has been no opportunity for input for so many of my colleagues and [Republicans are] planning on just bringing this through with no attention. It's being written in the dark."

4. Deep Cuts to Job Training 

While Trump's apprenticeship expansion talk sounds "pretty darn good" on the surface, the Alliance for American Manufacturing is highly suspicious, judging from his proposed 2018 budget, which "included a $1 million increase for apprenticeship grants."

"Other successful job training programs also would lose funding under Trump’s budget, including the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Economic Development Administration. Manufacturing USA would see a 70 percent drop in its funding," added AMM spokeswoman Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch. 

Mike Rosen, president of the Milwaukee chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, also appeared baffled by the administration's mismatch. 

"If you're really interested in promoting apprenticeship, you have to invest in that skill's training," Rosen told the Associated Press.

5. Communicating Partnerships

The elimination of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership has drawn ire from both sides of the aisle, due to effective private-public partnerships. Instead, Trump wants to focus on private-private partnerships, which Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced Monday. 

"The point here is to foster private-private partnerships between industry and educational institutions… so that when [students leave the program] they have the skills necessary to enter the workforce,” Acosta said during a White House press briefing Monday.

But aside from nonstop Russian collusion saga, there's another reason this story's been buried. 

"We have been trying to press the White House to find out what policy change the president actually envisions," NPR Washington correspondent Tamara Keith told PBS News Hour's Judy Woodruff on Tuesday.

"They say that they want more private-to-private partnerships, to do more apprenticeships... around this workforce development," continued Woodruff. "But then they're saying, well, you will have to wait until Wednesday to find out exactly what we're talking about. And that's a long time to wait and it's a long time to expect people to pay attention to something that is not related to the biggest news of the day."

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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