Oakdale, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Hoping to help close the gap between workers' skills and the needs of businesses, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he's putting hundreds of millions toward job training programs that produce highly skilled workers.
“When it comes to training our workers, not all of today's good jobs require a four-year college degree, but I promise there's not a job out there that's going to pay a lot if you don't have some sort of specialized training,” Obama said. “So our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race and you see what happens when we put effort into making sure workers have new skills, the education that's required for this 21st century economy.”
Joined by Vice President Joe Biden at the announcement at a community college outside of Pittsburgh, the President said while the economy has been improving, there is still more work to be done for those who are unemployed and those who are underemployed.
“America's got a choice to make. We can do nothing, which is the strategy that some folks in Washington seem to have or we can do what we've always done best. We pull together, we fight back, and we win,” the President said.
The funding will come in two parts: $500 million toward a new job training competition that pairs community colleges with businesses, and $100 million for new apprenticeship programs to train workers.
The White House says the new initiatives are meant to combat a long-standing problem facing the American job market: how to fill job vacancies requiring skills few Americans have.
High-growth sectors like information technology, high-tech services, healthcare and advanced manufacturing all require workers with specific sets of training. Many in those fields say they can't find enough American workers with the required skills, forcing them to find workers overseas.
The President first announced during this year's State of the Union address that he wanted Biden to lead an administration-wide task force to examine how Americans can better train for jobs. Since then the vice president has met with CEOs and business executives and visited job training centers in New York and New Hampshire.
Community colleges are another area the vice president has placed his job-creating focus. His wife Jill teaches part-time at a community college outside Washington. His trip on Wednesday also something of a homecoming for the Pennsylvania-born Biden.
The jobs effort is one aspect of Obama's so-called "year of action," during which the President has used executive actions on issues where Congress has been gridlocked.
The administration hopes the competition announced Wednesday will spur colleges and industry leaders to work more closely in developing skilled workers who could begin work when their training is finished. They also hope companies will design programs to help entry-level workers advance within ranks.
Officials also said the apprenticeship push would help place skilled workers in more jobs, since nearly all apprentices – 87% – find employment when their training is complete.
Don't bail on me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
@ Dominican mama:
"I like it so much better than my 'sit down and shut up'!"
Now you made me laugh. One of my husband's "friends" spent the weekend with us. I so would have loved to use that on him. Being the good little hostess ... I finished the weekend explaining to the hubby that he owes me ... BIG TIME.
Good grief. I'd forgotten how delusion these people are and how willing they are to drum up the flimsiest of excuses to start a political conversation that is based solely on their need to trash others in a effort to hold up their extremely one-sided (and I would suggest) heaviest of ego's.
The conversation started with his son's recent wedding and morphed into the son's new mother-in-law being the worlds biggest liberal ... in his mind anyway. Apparently the wedding was just another venue for him to spew his right wing garbage. I actually feel sorry for his new daughter in law.
What a future for her and hers. At their wedding, no less.
There's always going to be training. Why: Because there will always be changes to processes that make it necessary. Will all of this training pay off, lets hope so. Before this happens, we need some commitment from American industry to shift emphasis on domestic production of goods and services, and away from finding the cheapest labor possible in foreign lands. After all, we're all supposed to be patriotic, right?