February 13, 2019 / 3:23 PM / 10 days ago

Apple, Walmart, IBM CEOs join White House advisory panel

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the Anti-Defamation League's "Never is Now" summit in New York City, New York, U.S., December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - The chief executives of Apple Inc, Walmart Inc, IBM Corp and other major companies are joining a Trump administration advisory board that hopes to prepare U.S. workers to deal with job training issues and the worforce shift brought by artificial intelligence and automation, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order in July creating the 25-member board, co-chaired by adviser Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to address workforce issues including “automation, and artificial intelligence that is shaping many industries.” Other chief executives joining the board are those of Lockheed Martin Corp, Siemens USA, Home Depot Inc and Visa Inc.

The board members will serve until 2020 and will work with the administration’s National Council for the American Worker “to develop and implement a strategy to revamp the American workforce to better meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Trump’s executive order said “for too long, our country’s education and job training programs have prepared Americans for the economy of the past.”

Ivanka Trump said in a statement the administration wants “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.”

Also joining are the chief executives of the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, as well as the governors of Iowa and Indiana.

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said U.S. job openings reached a record high in December at 7.3 million. The White House says the job openings present “a mismatch between the skills needed and those being taught, requiring immediate attention to help more Americans enter the workforce.”In August 2017, Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils after numerous chief executives quit in protest over his remarks blaming violence in Virginia on anti-racism activists as well as white nationalists.

Trump dissolved the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum after eight executives, including the CEOS of Campbell Soup Co and 3M Co, quit the panels. Both councils were moving to disband on their own when Trump made his announcement on Twitter.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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