Trump (265617)

In response to a recent announcement that President Donald Trump signed an executive order to establish a council and an advisory board to help address “urgent” challenges facing the U.S. workforce, Tanya Wallace-Gobern, excutive director of the National Black Worker Center Project, released the following statement:

“The White House’s announcement about creating an advisory council to address our nation’s workforce challenges should be met with specific questions about how it plans to address unique structural threats that maintain the multi-dimensional Black jobs crisis.

“It’s hard to trust Trump’s commitment to workforce development and training programs as  he attempted to gut the Labor Department’s funding by 21 percent just two months into his presidency. This hinders the agency’s ability to provide training and employment services to Black workers who disproportionately struggle with unemployment, underemployment, low-wage work, discriminatory job policies and corporate-sponsored exploitation by billion dollar companies like Amazon and Wells Fargo.”

“Considering that President Barack Obama had a $175 million apprentice grant program, the announcement seems familiar and positive. However, the timing of this workforce initiative looks like a lose-lose for labor unions whose organizing abilities are being slashed by Trump as he continues to support anti-worker policies and policymakers.

“Board appointees for the National Council for the American Worker are also a key concern. Trump does not have a history of appointing folks who are advocates for and knowledgeable of the struggles that Black people and the working poor experience.

“Real investment in the American workforce must include full-employment accessibility for workers, free training, priority hiring status, inclusion of the formerly incarcerated, accountability measures to ensure equal opportunity in admittance to training, and quality wages. The National Black Worker Center Project and our affiliates will advocate for nothing less.”

The National Black Worker Center Project (NBWCP) was launched in 2011 to address the job crisis for Black workers. Its mission is 1) to support and incubate Black worker centers that empower Black workers to advance their rights and improve the quality of jobs in key employment centers; 2) to prevent racial discrimination in hiring and other employment practices and policies; and 3) to provide education about the impacts of low-wage work and unemployment on Black communities.