May 8th, 2009
08:05 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama to announce education help for unemployed

President Obama will announce educational help for the unemployed on Friday.
President Obama will announce educational help for the unemployed on Friday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New unemployment numbers are due out Friday and president Barack Obama will use the opportunity to announce new steps to help unemployed Americans.

The target of the rules will be people out of work who want to go back to school. Rules now create a catch 22: In most cases, if you are receiving unemployment compensation you have to be actively looking for a job. If you want to get more education or training, you have to give up unemployment benefits. But if you return to school you don't qualify for federal education grants since, in most cases, your qualification is based on your previous year's income.

The president is scheduled to outline a plan under which the Department of Education will send colleges legal guidance encouraging them to increase financial aid packages for the unemployed so they can enroll in educational and training programs, while keeping their unemployment benefits.

The colleges would consider the person's current financial situation to make it possible for them to receive Pell grants, which are available for low-income students. The unemployed person would not lose their unemployment benefits and the maximum Pell grant would be increased in July by $500 to $5,350.

The Labor Department will issue guidance "strongly encouraging" states to modernize their rules to allow more unemployed to continue their education without forfeiting their benefits.

President Obama, in prepared remarks, will say, "Our unemployment insurance system should no longer be a safety net, but a stepping stone to a new future. It should offer folks educational opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have, and give them the measurable and differentiated skills they need to not just get through these hard times, but to get ahead when the economy comes back."

The government is started a new Web site with information on the plan: http://www.opportunity.gov.


Filed under: Economy • Education • Obama administration • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    This is all about redistributing the wealth to it's "rightful owners" The "Great One" (obama) tells us that on a daily basis.
    Open your eyes America, can you not see what is happening?

    We have had a national day of prayer every day since 1952. obama decided not to observe it. Take a year away from the customary observence and return next yeay with his new regimin, Muslimism.

    WAKE UP AMERICA, you are being sold out.

    May 8, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. NObama is our downfall

    Hmm.....I wonder how ACORN will be involved? Perhaps they will do the training? FOR SURE the "education" will be geared toward ACORN and their ridiculous, childish liberal ideology.

    VOTE REPUBLICAN IN 2010!!!

    May 8, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Romney2012

    I have this great idea, why doesn't Obama just tax the hell out of the nation to provide for those who can't fend for themselves...(although much of that is contributed to laziness and incompetence).....oh, wait...he's already planning that..

    May 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Chip

    On the surface it looks nice. Everyne gets smarter and moves into the white collar force. Without blue collar workers to manage, there is no need for a white collar workforce.

    The tax structure and government largesse are the problems.

    There is about 12 trillion dollars sitting in off-shore accounts. Declare a tax holiday and modify corporate tax rates, get rid of unions (but codify an essential set of worker's rights) and you'll see an economic expansion like none other.

    Trim the TSA! Last time I was in an airport (two weeks ago) I went through a checkpoint and about 1/4 personnel were working, the rest were just standing around gabbing. Your tax dollars at work.

    Glad to see all of those "shovel ready" projects from the stimulus bill helping reduce the unemployment rate.

    How;s that workin' for ya?

    May 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. j

    It`s a start . What other choice is there ???? The world is changing and we must stay ahead of the curve. We are complacent. The sooner we get away from this No Child Left Behind mentality the better off we will be. The foreigners realize the only thing keeping them from a life of hard, physical labor is not taking education for granted as students and parents here do. ---– I`m an educator by profession and this is the cold hard truth.

    May 8, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Melissa

    Well thats good. The problem is that there's a very limited number of educated jobs out there and the competition is fierce. Though I do agree that education is never bad and this country's education level is despicable in comparison to other countries.

    May 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Doug, New Jersey

    Ha ha, the last thing he would ever want to do is offer education to his electorate. If they become self sufficient then they won't vote for him. Without greedy taker libs that leech off the hard work of good Americans, a Democrat cannot ever win an election.

    May 8, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Houff

    Education is great, only it shouldn't be paid for by "government" (that is, those of us paying taxes). Things that are "free" are seldom valued, but that which we sacrifice to pay for ourselves isusually treasured by those who pay for it. Fact is, we offer education for free to everyone in this country. If you fail to take advantage of it, why is "government's" (that is, those of us paying taxes) fault?

    It is time for individual responisibility in this country, and from the President on down, there is little of it in evidence.

    May 8, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Forward looking? Shame on him!

    Gosh darn that scary crazy President of ours! Always looking to the future! What the heck is WRONG with him? (Tongue firmly implanted in cheek)!

    May 8, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. American Gal

    he is destroying out country by robbing all tax dollars for HIS agenda!

    May 8, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Liberal and Proud of It dot com

    I'm sure we all remember well Sen. McCain's acceptance speech before the Republican nominiation. As you surely recall, he said: "Use community colleges to retrain unemployed workers and provide them with government subsidies while they are in training."

    I am glad to see that President Obama is willing to accept ideas proposed by Conservatives, and I'm sure Sen. McCain will lead the fight to implement his proposal.

    May 8, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Should create a new Education Czar position...then reach across the aisle and appoint the new Republican "rising star " to fill it...Bristol Palin...

    May 8, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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