GRIMES, Ia. — To celebrate one year since President Donald Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” was announced, adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar visited Hy-Vee’s innovation center in Grimes — and shot some hoops while they talked job training.
Trump’s oldest daughter — in a dress and heels – played basketball for a few minutes with Azar, in a suit. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who played on her high school basketball team, joined the Washington duo to shoot some free throws on their tour of the Hy-Vee center before sitting down for a roundtable discussion.
But the White House officials and Reynolds weren’t there just to play ball. A group of Hy-Vee employees joined them Friday to talk about the pledge and the Iowa-based grocery chain’s role.
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Ivanka Trump said Hy-Vee — and Iowa as a whole — are great examples of workforces with high participation and room for advancement. Iowa has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates.
“Iowa has an unbelievable story,” she said. “This is a great climate, a great opportunity. But it brings to bear a unique challenge, which is the fact that people need (skilled) workers.”
The pledge calls on states and private industry to invest in workforce training to address shortages, among other needs. The president tapped Reynolds to serve on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which works with the National Council for the American Worker in Washington.
Reynolds complimented Ivanka Trump and her work, as well as that of the council, for making sure states that are often ignored in favor of the coasts get consideration.
“This is exactly why it’s so important to leave D.C.,” Ivanka Trump said.
► Previously: Ivanka Trump observes high-tech professional development programs at Iowa school
Randy Edeker, chairman and CEO of Hy-Vee, said the company has pledged to train or retrain 15,000 workers as a part of the program — and plans to expand. Some employees told the politicians about their experiences in “Hy-Vee University” and other programs, where they were paid by the company to go through job training.
Pam Baker, who works in information technology for Hy-Vee, said she was pleased to see national and state politicians talk about Iowa issues, such as job training.
“I was happy to see they were just talking about everyday life, normal people and their normal problems,” Baker said. “This is the kind of stuff people are actually thinking about day-to-day, so I was impressed to see these issues getting a direct line to Washington.”
Author of the post: Robin Opsahl
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