Trump, Tax Reform, and Training

Dr. Rayford Barner & Dr. Reginald C. Jackson

If jobs are purported to be one the main benefits to America from the Trump administration’s reformed tax plan, then employment prospects for training and development professionals should be plentiful. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act focuses on improving the lives of all Americans, primarily the middle class, by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and larger paychecks (Tax Policy Center, 2017). The president related that “over the next ten years, our economic team estimates that under our plan the economy will average 3.5 percent growth and create a total of 25 million new jobs” (Gass, 2016). There are others in government, policy groups, and think tanks who are skeptical of the claim regarding jobs. Further, my discussion is in neither support nor opposition of the legislation; instead, it is a polite conversation with Training & Development professionals about being prepared for the pending job creation.

It is no secret in the profession that, when profit margins are low, the funding for training programs in organizations suffers cutbacks with the promise from senior management that it will return one day. Is it now that day? If so, are you prepared to be overwhelmed by the companies seeking T&D professionals to help prepare their human capital for what is expected to be a hiring spree of workers in the numerous industries projected to see job growth in the coming years? Some of the following questions should come to mind as you think about your preparedness as a professional.

What will this mean for existing T&D professionals?

What opportunities should they expect?

What will this mean for academic programs geared toward educating future T&D professionals?

Are the universities and colleges ready for the possibility of higher rates of student enrollment?

There has been a surge of technologies and andragogy disruptions in the canon of T&D practice to help trainers keep pace with the emerging trends. However, the prospective jobs coming online that are driven by the policy initiatives of the current administration seem to indicate that most positions will be entry-level and that many will be low-tech. If this is true, I believe the core tenants of adult motivation and learning theory will be vital for harnessing the potential an organization’s new employees. Therefore, it is in the best interests of T&D professionals to brush up on their classroom management, facilitation, presentation skills, and understanding of generational differences and diversity to be successful at supporting the needs of employers.

In order for those in T&D to continue to be successful and navigate the expected increase in jobs, some key skills should always be a part of their toolkits:

1. Project management skills: Managing a project or multiple projects at once can be daunting, so it is vital to be able to define, plan, and manage projects efficiently.

2. Communication skills: Having the necessary communication skills that are critical in environments where you communicate with all levels of an organization.

3. Mentoring mindset: Having a mentor that can assist you as you grow in your career and as you advance in your career and become a mentor. Also, sharing with someone new to the field the successes and challenges that contributed to your growth within the field.

Having these skills or taking the opportunity to get a refresher on these skills will be a significant asset in managing the changes that may result from the tax plan.

References

Gass, N. (2016, September). Trump promises to create 25 million jobs with economic plan. Politico. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/donald-trump-jobs-economic-plan-228218

Tax Policy Center. (2017). The Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Retrieved from https://waysandmeans.house.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2017/10/WM_TCJA_PolicyOnePagers.pdf

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