At CES 2020 on Tuesday afternoon, Ivanka Trump spoke to a standing-room only crowd in Las Vegas. Her controversial appearance spurred quite a bit of angst amongst the tech community, where women are famously underrepresented. Trump, whom the White House described as an advisor to President Trump in a press release, is not known as a leader in the tech industry.
Regardless of her status in the tech world, Trump was joined on stage by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) for the session, “The Path to the Future of Work.” The key points discussed were having employers reskill and invest in workers, expanding computer science and STEM education in schools, and having the US remain dominate in “industries of the future.”
Shapiro asked Trump about immigration and how to keep the pipeline open for the future, especially given the shortage of skilled workers in the US.
Trump said, “Well the President said that he thinks it’s absolutely insane that we educate immigrants from across the world and as they are about to start their business, open their business, become employers, we throw them out of our country. It doesn’t make sense. Our immigration system is totally flawed. If you compare our immigration system with that of our neighbor to the North, Canada, it makes no sense. So immigration I think it actually would have bipartisan agreement that it needs to be overhauled and become relevant to both the jobs and the skills we need to attract to continue to grow and thrive. But it can’t displace the investment that needs to be made in the core skills of marginalized Americans.”
She continued, “So that’s where we have to be careful. We need to do both. We need to recruit and retain the greatest talent in the world to help us grow and innovate. But we need to invest in American workers and reach over to the sidelines. We’re all going to mentor our workforce and equip them with the skills they need to thrive. And we can’t just seek to import that.”
SEE: More CES 2020 coverage (TechRepublic)
Retraining workers was another topic of conversation on the stage.
“One of the things that I’m really passionate about is the fact that there really is this blue collar boom that is taking place in this country,” she said. “If you look at where wages are rising the fastest, they’re rising fastest in the bottom quintet. They’re rising fastest for blue collar workers and the technology is helping, enhancing fuel productivity, but we’re here obviously talking about the way jobs are evolving and changing and to do the same job today in many industries outside of what’s considered sort of a traditional quote unquote technology industry, there is a technical application and a technical literacy that’s required.”
Shapiro added that the workforce of the future is changing, and while the number of new jobs might outnumber the jobs that are replaced through technology, it’s not known for sure.
Ivanka Trump said many CEO’s have no idea how much their companies spend on current and future workforce training. “We need to make people internalize this as a core obligation as an employer. Increasingly, there is this drive within corporations…to think about their social impact. I would say the most important social impact is the health and the prosperity and the commitment you have to your own family, your own workforce,” she said.
CTA’s press release said that Trump had worked with the current administration on workforce and STEM efforts and co-chairs the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. In addition, the release said she pushed for a Presidential Memorandum, which was signed in September 2017 to increase access to STEM and computer science education for US students.
For more, check out NVIDIA shows off autonomous tech for cards and robots at CES 2020 on TechRepublic.