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Updated 14 hours ago
WASHINGTON — President Trump brought two dozen manufacturing CEOs to the White House on Thursday and declared their collective commitment to restoring factory jobs lost to foreign competition.
Yet some of the CEOs suggested that there were still plenty of openings for U.S. factory jobs but too few qualified people to fill them. They urged the White House to support vocational training for the high-tech skills that today's manufacturers increasingly require — a topic Trump has seldom addressed.
“The jobs are there, but the skills are not,” one executive said during meetings with White House officials that preceded a session with the president. Reporters were permitted to attend the meetings on the condition of not quoting individual executives by name.
The discussion of job training and worker skills is a relatively new one for Trump, who campaigned for the White House on promises to restore manufacturing jobs that he said had been lost to flawed trade deals and unfair competition from countries like Mexico and China.
Again and again, Trump brought up that theme in his meeting with the CEOs.
“Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back,” Trump said. “The good jobs, the real jobs. They've left.”
White House officials said Trump heard the CEOs' concerns about a shortage of qualified workers and said he supports efforts to increase training. But they didn't provide details.
Trump officials said the meetings were intended to provide the White House with ideas in four areas: taxes and trade; regulatory reform; infrastructure; and the “workforce of the future.”
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