Ivanka Trump talks skills training legislation with senators, CEOs
White House senior adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump discussed legislation to boost skills training for tech careers with senators and corporate executives on Wednesday night, according to a source familiar with the event.
Trump specifically talked with lawmakers and business leaders about reauthorizing the Perkins Act, a bill aimed at bolstering workforce education training, during a dinner she and husband Jared Kushner hosted at their home in northwest Washington, D.C.
The bill has been a priority for some major technology companies like IBM, whose CEO Ginni Rometty attended the dinner Wednesday night. The source noted though that the Perkins Act was a “priority topic” for Trump during the dinner.
The individual described the dinner as “a positive and productive discussion on overcoming a handful of obstacles and getting this bill onto the Senate floor.”
Other attendees included Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), as well as Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush and Josh Bolton, the president of the Business Roundtable.
The Perkins Act was originally signed in 1984 and reauthorized in 1998, but proponents want changes that they say will make it more helpful to workers in a modern economy with a growing number of technical jobs.
An IBM spokesperson said the company believes an updated version of the act “can go a long way toward addressing America’s high-tech skills gap.”
Some technology companies and researchers say action is needed to address a schism between available technical jobs and workers with the skills necessary to fill them.
The bill has bipartisan support and passed in the House last year, but has yet to gain traction in this legislative session.