Obama, Biden tout new efforts to improve job skills training


McClatchy Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pa., on Wednesday to talk about new efforts to link up job training with what employers need.

The White House said the programs will help people who train for jobs have a better idea that there will be jobs available when they’re done. The new programs focus on community colleges and apprenticeship programs.

The two programs are part of the executive actions Obama is taking that don’t require decisions from Congress.

One is a $500 million job training grant competition for community colleges. The grants will be awarded to schools across the country that identify areas where jobs are available and link up with employers to figure out what skills they’re seeking. The program also encourages colleges to give credits for demonstrated skills rather than the amount of time students spend in school.

The other program is $100 million in grants for efforts to get more workers into apprenticeship programs. The funding will come from fees employers pay when they request H-IB visas for highly skilled workers.

According to federal data, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs and their average starting wage is more than $50,000 a year. The grants will go to training providers that set up apprenticeships in high-growth fields such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing.

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