H1B visa fee used to fund apprentice program: US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross
Washington: The United States is funding its apprentice program from the H-1B visa fee, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday. Ross said the Trump administration had launched a new “Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship System” in a major effort to spur employer-led training and was now planning to expand it.
The commerce secretary said the additional public funding could help establish new apprenticeship programs in the travel and tourism industry. According to Ross, the Department of Labor has USD 100 million in funding available for about 30 apprenticeship grants. These will go to public/private partnerships to develop new apprenticeship models and expand existing apprenticeship programs.
In his address to the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Ross said: “The funding source is the fees companies pay to hire foreign workers under the H-1B visa program. These fees are then provided as grants for training American workers in the occupations for which employers are hiring H-1B workers, such as IT jobs.”
The Department of Labor is expanding its apprenticeship programs to include cybersecurity and artificial intelligence since every sector of the economy requires workers with these skill sets, he added.