James Sherk ’03 is a labor adviser to President Donald Trump. James Sherk | Courtesy

Another Hillsdale College alumnus has joined the ranks of graduates working in President Donald Trump’s administration. James Sherk ’03 began serving as a White House labor adviser a couple of weeks ago.

“It’s a tremendous professional privilege and a great chance to make a lasting change in America,” Sherk said in an interview with The Collegian. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Sherk, a labor economist and researcher at the Heritage Foundation for the last seven years, has been working with the White House Domestic Policy Council since the end of January and was also part of the Labor Department’s transition team following the November election. He served as temporary appointee for the Department of Labor, as well.

“I know James well and his family. I knew him well as a student and have kept in touch, especially while he has worked at Heritage,” Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said in an email. “Impressive young man — always very solid and productive.”

Sherk is now one of five Hillsdale graduates confirmed to be working within the Trump administration.

“Hillsdale students are smart and hard working,” Arnn said. “And they learn a lot about the world. Maybe that is why they get hired in high places.”

When Sherk was a student at Hillsdale, he served in the Student Federation, participated in the JRR Tolkien Society, and was a member of Hillsdale’s debate team.

He also had a regular byline in The Collegian, frequently writing opinion pieces about the 2000 election, George W. Bush, immigration policy, and economics.

“My economics education was tremendously beneficial,” Sherk said. “It’s helped my career in numerous ways and has proved useful on a day to day basis in my role with the Domestic Policy Council.”

In an article titled “Drop it: Congress’ stimulus folly,” Sherk wrote that it’s not the government’s job to stimulate the economy and create jobs because it primarily doesn’t understand it.

“One major reason the government cannot stimulate the economy out of a recession is the information problem; quite simply, the government cannot know enough about the workings of the economy to accomplish  the plan for its growth,” Sherk said. “The government does not and cannot possess the knowledge necessary to attempt to plan America’s economy.”

After graduation, Sherk worked as a labor analyst and policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., where he spent numerous years researching and critiquing minimum wage laws, labor unions inflated influence in the workforce, and former President Barack Obama’s labor statistics.

Matthew Spalding, associate vice president and dean of educational programs at the Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, previously worked with Sherk at the foundation and said he will be a great asset to the Trump administration.

“He spent a lot of time on labor research and knows it well,” Spalding said. “He is an outstanding addition to the Trump administration. He’s a very good appointment.”


  • Jennifer Melfi

    Anyone have any memories of this guy they would like to share?