White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump speaks with Matthew A. Swift during a Q&A interview at the 2018 Concordia Summit in New York. /PHOTO BY KEMI OSUKOYA


September 24, 2018

White House Special Advisor Ivanka Trump told audience at the Concordia Summit in New York on Monday that creating new jobs, retraining, up-skilling of American workforce, and providing economic empowering for women are top priorities for the Trump administration.   

Ms. Trump, who spoke in an interview with Matthew A. Swift, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Concordia, touted some of the works and programs that the Trump administration have undertaken in the past 18 months, including a National Council for United States Workers initiative, a government-led public private partnership program that was launched recently to help American workforce.

Ms. Trump said the American workers initiative will allow the administration to leverage knowledge from the private sector as well as collect data from the federal government to come up with holistic solutions for how Americans obtain their education, credentials, and provide transparency around jobs. 

“It is the administration way of getting the private sector involved at the grassroots and letting them know the government recognizes that it is its obligation to invest in American workers and give them the skills and tools the workforce needs to become competitive in the global world,” Ms. Trump said.

She added that the program will help to retrain American workers whose jobs are at risk of becoming obsolete due to machine automation and new technologies.

She noted that in terms of retraining and up-skilling of mid-career level workers, there isn’t a harmonious continuity in education in the American educational system when it comes to skill training from kindergarten to retirement. 

“We want to think about how the U.S. government can get involved to better leverage data for better transparency outcomes for how people obtain their credentials, education, and transparency around the jobs that are available in the country and the underlining skillset required to fill those jobs,” said Ms. Trump.

She said currently more than 100 companies, including General Motors, Lockheed Martin and Salesforce, have signed on and have committed an estimated $4.3 million to a federal funding which supports the program.

In addition on working on its top domestic agenda, Ms. Trump said the administration also plan to work on some of its top priorities, such as women’s economic empowerment, in collaboration with other nations because it is “in furtherance of [America’s] domestic peace and stability.”

Ms. Trump explained that the administration’s approach to prioritizing America’s national interests first does not mean America alone and that the administration believes every country should promote its own equal sovereignty.

“America first is not America alone. That’s why the people elected the President to serve in their interests and promote our values,” said Ms. Trump. “We believe the world is not a community of nations where all norms and values aligned. Sometimes they do not aligned and sometimes they do. We look for nations which values align with ours and where our interests overlap.”

Speaking about the U.S.’ relations with countries in the developing world, including Africa and Latin America, Ms. Trump said it is in America’s national security best interests to support women’s economic empowerment in developing world because women are at the forefront of preventing their children from becoming radicalized by terrorist groups, and ensuring peace and stability. 

“We know that when you invest in women, they invest back into their communities,” Ms. Trump said. “They invest in their children’s education, invest back into their families. This is in furtherance of our domestic peace and stability.”

The Trump administration signed into law the Women’s Peace and Security Act, which will require that women be involved in peacekeeping negotiations in their country.

Ms. Trump said the administration plan to launch a new initiative early next year for women that will provide access to capital for women entrepreneurs in small medium enterprises in the developing world. 

Early this year, the administration launched two programs: Women Connect and OPIC’s 2x Initiative, to provide women in developing world with access to technologies.  The OPIC’s 2x Initiative is administered by the government’s finance agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which means the agency now invests though the gender’s lens.

A $195 million funds was launched at the Summit of the Americas in Peru as part of the public private partnership initiative, Ms. Trump said, with over $150 million contributions from the private sector for women-led businesses in Central America and South America

She underscored that the administration’s ultimate goal of its approach to providing foreign assistance to countries is to make sure nations become self-reliance.

“When we think of foreign-aid and America’s first, outside of these circumstances, that’s to maintain aid in the pureness form, We ultimately wants the results of the foreign aid to lead to self-reliance. That’s the ultimate goal and we think investing in that should be everyone’s goal.”