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(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) – Indiana’s been trying to line up job skills with college curricula. The U.S. Secretary of Labor has visited Noblesville to promote the same idea.

Alexander Acosta joined Indiana Senator Todd Young on a tour of Gaylor Electric , which has an apprenticeship program for high school students. Acosta says more companies and colleges need to work together on similar programs. He says colleges should be talking with businesses about what skills are needed for today’s job market, then tailor their curricula accordingly.

Acosta says the Trump administration has created a $150 million grant fund to encourage partnerships on “earn while you learn” apprenticeship programs, with a requirement that both colleges and businesses have to participate to get the money. He says apprenticeships need to expand beyond their traditional home in building trades to a full spectrum of industries.

And Acosta says the administration has proposed making financial aid available for job skill certificate programs, instead of just college degree programs. He says excluding certificate programs sends a message those skills are less valuable.

Acosta also traveled to Terre Haute for a panel discussion on retirement planning at Indiana State. But he declined comment on one job opening, to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Acosta was a federal prosecutor and assistant attorney general during George W. Bush’s administration, and he’s been rumored to be in the mix of possible candidates. Acosta says he’s focusing on the Labor Department.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)