President Bush, pushing for more flexibility in job training programs, said Wednesday that the federal government needs to support community colleges because they are available and affordable to meet the needs of modern-day workers.
“We must never lose sight of the need to have an education system ... that’s capable of keeping this country competitive by adjusting to the workplace as it really is,” Bush said at Anne Arundel Community College. “I have come to herald success.”
Bush has proposed doubling the number of Americans who get job-training help from the government, as a way to restore lost jobs. He aims to do that in part by consolidating federal job-training programs, but is also striving for broader change.
He wants to require accountability in certain programs, give states more flexibility and provide $250 million to community colleges that design courses in partnership with the needs of local employers. He also wants to create personal job training accounts that give the unemployed federal money for services aimed at helping them get back to work.
The president’s latest budget request asks Congress for $125 million to promote dual-enrollment programs that allow high school students to earn college credit.
“Community colleges are available,” Bush said, sitting in a gymnasium in front of a sign that said “Jobs and Growth.” “They are affordable and they are flexible.”
Bush’s proposed consolidation of federal job-training efforts is aimed at increasing the programs’ effectiveness. But it is also part of an attempt to save $1.9 billion in the next fiscal year by targeting overlapping programs that serve the same purpose.
Democrats, however, say what is needed are better job training programs, not what they say are cuts in the job-training budget.