Find Something New: Ivanka Trump Announces Tone-Deaf Jobs Campaign

The campaign was swiftly called out for suggesting overly simplistic solutions to an immense employment problem.

Getty Images / MUSTAFA ABUMUNES – Ivanka Trump greets attendees during a plenary session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 14, 2019

Amid a pandemic that has caused economic turmoil and left millions around the country unemployed, Ivanka Trump, White House adviser and President Trump’s daughter, announced a rosy, reductive solution: “Find Something New.”

On Tuesday, Ivanka unveiled the White House-backed Find Something New campaign, an initiative that highlights ways people can start or pivot in their careers. Created by Ad Council, in partnership with more than 20 corporations and organizations like Apple and IBM, the campaign also encourages unemployed Americans to explore new career paths. (Disclaimer: NowThis has produced videos in partnership with Ad Council.)

The launch included a virtual roundtable discussion on Tuesday featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM chair Ginni Rometty and an ad that features testimonials from people who have been laid off, searching for a job, or seeking a career change. 

Though the initiative's website offers links to certification programs, apprenticeships, and online courses, people swiftly called it out for appearing to suggest overly simplistic solutions to an immense employment problem. According to a Mother Jones, “It’s the equivalent of directing someone to, wishing them good luck, and congratulating yourself for helping them in a meaningful way.”

“Go find something new in the middle of this pandemic while no one is hiring! Perhaps your father will hire you!” ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman also said on Twitter

The website also highlights “rising careers,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. Among the careers is “wind turbine technician” — a role involving an energy source that the Washington Post pointed out has repeatedly been criticized by President Trump.

The wide-ranging effects of the coronavirus on industries across the country has left historic numbers of Americans without jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate was 11% in  June,with about 17.8 million people experiencing unemployment. That number marked a decline of 3.2 million people without jobs from the previous month.

Separately, Ivanka Trump drew backlash after posting a photo of herself on Tuesday holding a can of Goya black beans with the caption, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno.” The photo followed calls for a boycott on Goya products, after Robert Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods, praised President Trump at a White House event announcing a Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

In addition to adding fuel to the national Goya drama, Ivanka’s photo was also in violation of government ethics rules. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics states that "Executive branch employees may not use their Government positions to suggest that the agency or any part of the executive branch endorses an organization (including a nonprofit organization), product, service, or person."