Obama, Biden highlight job-training in middle-class push

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:04am EDT

1 of 2. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington June 30, 2014. At rear is U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will put a spotlight on job-training programs on Tuesday as part of a White House push to boost economic opportunities for middle-class Americans, an important voting group in November elections.

Obama will sign the "Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act," which the White House said would help "improve business engagement and accountability across federally funded training programs."

Biden, who is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, will unveil a new report that will show the results of a study about how to make federal training programs more successful and better tailored to employers' needs.

"From now on, federal agencies will use specific job-driven criteria to ensure that the $17 billion in federal training funds are used more effectively," a senior White House official told reporters on a conference call on Monday.

The administration plans to work with elected officials and leaders in businesses, unions, and academia to replicate training strategies that work well, the White House said.

Obama leaves later on Tuesday for a fundraising trip in California.

The president is trying to boost the chances of his fellow Democrats in congressional elections in November, when his party risks losing seats in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and control of the U.S. Senate.

Obama made fighting for the middle class the top theme of his successful 2012 re-election campaign.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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