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Apple CEO Tim Cook has been named as one of the 25 members of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a group that aims to create a strategy to make workers in the United States cope better with the current and impending challenges of 21st century employment.
Announced by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump advisor Ivanka Trump, the board includes leaders in a variety of different fields and industries, covering the private sector, education, and state and local governments.
Of the 25 people named, Cook is one of the most prominent on the list, and is also one of the few managing technology companies, with other major tech firms like Google and Amazon notably absent. Other tech-related members include Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton, SAP America CEO Bill McDermott, and IBM Chairman, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty.
Cook and the other members' terms on the board run until July 2020.
The advisory board aims to provide varied perspectives on workforce issues that are facing communities and businesses across the United States, while at the same time working to raise awareness of "multiple pathways for American workers to obtain family-sustaining careers. It will be working with the National Council for the American Worker, created in July 2018 by presidential executive order, guiding the council to ensure students and workers have access to affordable and relevant education and job training, that can help advance the US economy on the global stage.
The board itself will be developing a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend specific courses of action for improving the overall labor market to meet the demands of employers, and to identify strategies to improve private sector investments in American students and workers, to try and establish a culture in lifelong learning.
It is claimed by the Department of Commerce there are approximately 7.3 million job openings, exceeding the number of people classed as unemployed. The department claims there to be a mismatch between the skills needed by employers and the ones being taught, something that the National Council will seek to rectify.
"The Advisory Board will work in coordination with the National Council for the American Worker to solve the pressing issues facing American workers and families each day," said Ross in a statement on the move. Advisor Trump added "We want all Americans to have the skills and opportunities to secure good paying jobs and successfully navigate technological disruptions and the rapidly changing nature of work."
Cook has used education as a means to improve the U.S. workforce in the past, with the introduction of the Everyone Can Code curriculum teaching people how to develop software and produce their own apps. The CEO has also previously expressed "change needs to happen" in U.S. schools to improve the workforce as a whole.
"I want America to be strong, first and foremost, and I think to do that, we need to code," said Cook in an April 2018 interview. "It is a language and it is everywhere in our life. It is problem solving. You need critical thinking to know what is fake and what is real."