New Ivanka Trump initiative tells out-of-work Americans to ‘find something new’

Four months before the presidential election, Ivanka Trump, adviser to her father President Donald Trump, is promoting a new ad campaign dubbed, “Find Something New.”

Aimed at helping unemployed Americans find new careers, the initiative launched Tuesday with a virtual roundtable hosted at the White House featuring Ivanka Trump and business leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, and a reveal of one of the ads, a 30-second spot with a handful of people telling their employment stories.

“Now, as a result of Covid, people need to, unfortunately, in some cases learn a completely new skill,” said Trump on Tuesday during the launch. “But that is also an opportunity to be put on for a new trajectory for themselves and their lives and we want to facilitate that connection back to the workforce and make it as smooth as possible.”

“Find Something New” was swiftly criticized on social media, most vociferously for its title, which can be interpreted as too simplistic a catchphrase to describe the unemployment meltdown happening for millions of Americans as a global pandemic continues to ravage physical and financial health.

The nation has gone through an unprecedented economic meltdown in recent months, triggered by governors’ requiring residents to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans. A record 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, by far the steepest and most sudden decline on record.

Though employers brought back millions of workers in May and June as the nation began to reopen, the economy is still down nearly 15 million jobs since February and more than 1 million people file for first-time unemployment benefits each week.

A new round of layoffs may be in store as many states are forced to pause or reverse their plans to reopen amid the fresh surge in cases. Plus, multiple retailers and other companies have recently announced store closures, filed for bankruptcy or warned that major downsizings could lie ahead.

Ivanka Trump defended herself via Twitter, responding to one critic: “I suggest that you visit http://FindSomethingNew.org. This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job. This work has never been more urgent.”

This is not the first time Trump has been publicly lambasted for being out of step with the mood of the country.

In April, while tweeting US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for people to stay home as the pandemic spread, and during a non-essential travel ban set in place for Washington, DC, Trump went to her family vacation home at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Over the July 4 holiday, Trump posted on her social media for people to be “safe & responsible,” and “follow state & local guidelines to keep you & your loved ones safe,” reminding to social distance and wear masks. However, that same day, her father hosted a large celebratory event in South Dakota at Mount Rushmore, where there were no social distancing precautions and hundreds in the audience did not wear face coverings.

The “find something new” ad campaign, a product of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which Trump created in 2018 and co-chairs with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, is additionally supported by the AdCouncil and corporate sponsors.

An accompanying website directs people towards other avenues of work interest, exploring options and checklists for training, challenging unemployed Americans to “find your path.”

Trump has of late championed non-college and university job programs, promoting instead vocational, technical jobs and trades. Trump herself is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

She has also had different jobs, though none in the political sphere prior to assuming her post as a senior White House official under her father’s administration. Trump has been a model, a clothing and footwear designer, a high-end jewelry designer, an author, and an executive at the Trump family hotel business.

Trump’s current White House portfolio ranges vastly from childcare and family tax credit, to workforce development, human trafficking, and women’s global economic empowerment.