A new executive order from the Trump administration—issued Thursday and intended to scale back regulations and increase grant amounts for apprenticeship programs—could lead to an expanded restaurant workforce.
The order directs the Department of Labor to create new rules allowing companies to create and certify their own programs, which will lessen the federal government’s role in monitoring apprenticeships. The order also proposes to double the amount of money designated for apprenticeship grants from $90 million to nearly $200 million per year.
While President Trump touted the measure Thursday as a way to fill skilled jobs in machinery and technology, the program expansion will also allow for more restaurant employees to be put on a path toward leadership roles, says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).
Last year, the NRAEF was awarded a $1.8 million contract by the Department of Labor to create a hospitality apprenticeship program in conjunction with the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The associations will identify at least 450 apprentices for training.
“The program takes employees who are hourly or in entry-level positions and puts them on a structured pathway to give them the comprehensive skills they need to be effective restaurant managers,” Gifford says. “They earn a credential at the end of the process and have all the skills they need to be a manager in the restaurant industry.”
While the funding is now limited to about $1,000 per apprentice, Gifford says increased funding and less cumbersome regulations for employers will likely increase utilization of apprenticeships by making it more attractive to employers.
“Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees,” Trump said Thursday while announcing the order. “We’re empowering these groups to create new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens. … [Apprentices] earn while they learn.”