Ivanka Trump, a senior advisor to President Trump, this morning visited a high-tech center where central Iowa high school students are working on projects for local businesses.
“This is an unbelievable example of innovation in education,” Trump said, “and pairing the skills being taught in a classroom environment with the jobs in demand in the modern economy.”
Trump met with students in two classrooms to see what she called their “work of the future.”
“I was personally very excited to see so many young ladies who were here today because women and minorities have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields,” Trump said. “And, as we embark on the fourth industrial revolution, it’s critical that trajectory changes.”
After the tour, Trump sat down for a longer discussion with state officials, teachers, people from businesses involved in the center and students. One student said he had a “light bulb moment” when working on a construction site that has changed his perspective on what he can do after high school.
Trump replied that she had a “special place in my heart construction,” prompting the crowd to laugh. “My old life as a builder — I understand why you’re passionate about it.”
Trump promised “a very important component” of the president’s infrastructure proposal would be investment in broadband for rural Americans.
“To be able to innovate and grow their businesses and develop themselves,” Trump said, “by being connected.”
Trump also said efforts were underway to ease federal regulations for apprenticeships and expand the federal work-study program to more employers.
AUDIO of discussion, 40:00
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds hosted Trump, starting with an early morning breakfast at the governor’s mansion, then the tour of classrooms at what’s called the APEX center in Waukee. Reynolds pressed for changes in federal college grant programs — so the grants could be used by high schoolers who take classes at community colleges.
After Trump left, Reynolds told reporters she hopes the “First Daughter” takes that idea back to Washington.
“Really providing flexibility to states, so that we can be innovative and think outside of the box,” Reynolds said.
Trump did not take questions from reporters. Before she arrived, students and staff at the center were warned if they asked Trump questions about politics or “current events,” they’d be escorted out by the Secret Service.
The Iowa Democratic Party held a counter protest at a city park in Waukee, accusing Ivanka Trump and Reynolds of pursuing an agenda that “puts special interests ahead of workers.” The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party said while is “claiming to care” about American workers, she outsourced production of Ivanka Trump-branded shoes to China.