Ivanka Trump pushes workforce, broadband, infrastructure at Waukee appearance

During a tour of a workforce training program in Waukee, presidential adviser Ivanka Trump said the administration remains committed to infrastructure improvements, including workforce development and wider rural access to broadband service.

Those are three top priorities of many Iowa business groups and politicians.

Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, said she wanted to visit the Waukee Innovation and Learning Center after Apple CEO Tim Cook sent her an email about the program. Cook had visited the program when he announced plans for a large server development in Waukee.

“Our hope is that I can bring this experience back with me to Washington and it can inform our thought process, giving more students the experience that you have the great fortune to experience,” Trump told students and staff.

Trump said the administration’s key pillar in infrastructure planning is workforce development. The U.S.  Labor Department is considering reauthorizing the Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, and expanding federal Pell grants to cover technical programs.

“Our most important asset is our people, and we need to ensure people have the skill sets to rebuild dilapidated bridges and tunnels and infrastructure, or lay the broadband to create rural broadband accessibility in every community in America,” Trump said.

The Labor Department is also considering changes to the process that apprenticeships are registered, Trump said.

“It’s so challenging, especially for small employers to go through the process of formally registering an apprentice,” Trump said.

To align with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative, the Iowa Business Council has pledged to add 30,000 internships and apprenticeships through member businesses by 2025, Executive Director Georgia Van Gundy told Trump. Most jobs available in Iowa are “middle-skill” positions, which have been difficult to attract students to, Van Gundy said.

“We give students those opportunities to understand that a manufacturing job 10 years ago is not the same as the manufacturing jobs of today,” Van Gundy told Trump.

Trump joined Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg; House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Clear Lake Republican; representatives of the Iowa Business Council, Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Education; private business partners, and students and staff members in the Waukee Community School District.