LAS VEGAS - Ivanka Trump delivered a keynote address amid controversy at the Consumer Electronics Show Tuesday, touting innovation as an engine for U.S. job growth.
The White House senior adviser, whose appearance at CES had sparked a backlash in parts of the tech community, came on stage to applause and cheers.
Speaking to Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES, Trump discussed advances in technology, artificial intelligence and promoted the reskilling older workers, training them in new skills or careers to get better jobs.
“Innovation cannot be bridled,” she said. “I also believe that innovation is a net job producer.”
Trump also discussed the different “pathways” that can drive growth. “One of the challenges we have in this country is that there’s a belief ingrained in society that there’s a ‘path A’ – that’s a four-year college,” she said. “We want to celebrate the other pathways that exist, such as an apprenticeship.”
The administration, she explained, is set to launch a major ad campaign “to expose people to different pathways.”
Other topics discussed during the keynote included the importance of STEM education in schools, tax reform and helping give families more money for childcare and paid parental leave for federal workers. “We fought for and secured a commitment to our workforce that we will offer 12 weeks of paid paternity/maternity/adoption leave for all federal workers,” she said.
Trump’s appearance as a keynote speaker stirred controversy in the buildup to CES, with critics arguing that the White House senior adviser was unqualified to address the massive tech show. On social media, some users even called for a boycott of her talk and even CES itself.
In a statement emailed to Fox News prior to Trump’s keynote talk, the CTA said that policy discussions are a critical part of the CES program, noting that this year’s event hosts over 150 policymakers.
“CTA invites officials from every White House – both Republicans and Democrats – to participate in and speak at CES. The future of work is a critical policy topic for the technology sector. Life-changing tech innovations – from artificial intelligence to drones to self-driving vehicles – will create countless new jobs, and our industry has a responsibility to prepare American workers for the jobs of the future,” it said. “Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump leads the White House efforts on job creation and economic growth through workforce development, skills training and entrepreneurship – and she will address them directly at CES 2020.”
Other keynote speakers at CES this year include former HP and eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is now CEO of the Quibi video platform, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Follow James Rogers, Stephanie Bennett on Twitter @jamesjrogers @StephBennettTV