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Obama Puts Down $600 Million to Train Up Your Future Employees

The president is traveling to a community college in Pennsylvania later today where he will announce new initiatives aiming to bolster the U.S. labor force.
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President Obama wants to bolster the skill sets of your future employees.

In a speech at a community college in Pennsylvania today, the President will announce he is devoting $600 million to a pair of grant programs designed to train the workforce in skills where jobs are available.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. has fallen as low as 6.7 percent from the double digits it touched at the height of the recession, but there are still too many people unable to find quality work. The goal with the $600 million investment in job training is to close the gap between the skill sets of unemployed and underemployed Americans and the jobs that employers need filled.

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In particular, there are open positions in information technology, high-tech services, health care, and advanced manufacturing, according to a fact sheet from the White House about the new initiative.

The vast majority of the $600 million investment will go to a program run by the U.S. Labor Department in which community colleges around the country are invited to come up with job training programs they would implement if they were to receive grant money. Single colleges can apply for as much as $2.5 million and regional clusters of colleges can apply for as much as $15 million. 

This is the fourth prong of a program investing in local community colleges around the country, called the  Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative. The program, which has been in existence for 3 years so far, has worked to empower community colleges to provide their students with skills that are demanded by local businesses. 

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“Through the first three rounds of grants more than 800 colleges across the country are helping to build strong ladders of opportunity that allow people to secure a foothold in the middle class, while also supporting businesses to compete and grow,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement.

The second leg of the investment Obama is touting today involves making $100 million available through a program to be launched in the fall through the Department of Labor for American Apprenticeship Grants. This new initiative, also a competition, will encourage partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the public workforce system, nonprofits and faith-based organizations that train employees in high-growth industries.

Obama will announce the news during a visit to the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Penn.

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