Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook visited the White House on Thursday to discuss Trump administration’s efforts to develop job training programs that meet the changing demands of U.S. employers. The meeting was part of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a working group that includes many corporate leaders. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump unveiled the initiative earlier this year.
“The private sector’s really stepping up,” Ivanka Trump said on Thursday. “We’ve secured commitments. Tim Cook from Apple, who was here today, he’s been a real force on both the advisory board and his commitment to life-long learning generally.” Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
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She also said Salesforce.com Inc. CEO Marc Benioff committed to training 1 million American workers over the next five years when the two met recently in Indiana. The executive made the pledge last month. Salesforce initially said it would train 500,000 people using its online learning platform Trailhead, but Benioff doubled the commitment at the event in Indiana.
Big U.S. tech companies have long complained that there aren’t enough tech-savvy candidates to hire. But other issues have overwhelmed the industry more recently, including the trade war between the U.S. and China and concern about the sector’s rising power.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was also in Washington this week. On Wednesday, he participated in an event on Capitol Hill hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in coordination with the Congressional Digital Trade Caucus, titled, “Digital Trade: Empowering U.S. Small Business to Export.” Pichai expressed support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement and discussed the importance of digital trade, according to a person familiar with the situation.
President Trump has been among the most vocal critics of large tech companies. In a June 10 interview with CNBC, he said that “there is something going on in terms of monopoly” and that the U.S. should follow the European Union in suing U.S. tech companies.
In an August 2018 interview with Bloomberg, he said there may be an “antitrust situation” because of what he called promotion of liberal over conservative views by Google, Facebook Inc., and other tech companies.
The companies say some conservatives have been kicked off their platforms because they violated rules against hate speech and harassment.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division and the Federal Trade Commission recently divided oversight to investigate technology giants Google, Apple, Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook for possible anti-competitive behavior. Apple falls under the Justice Department’s watch.
Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, called the companies “digital gatekeepers” this week.