April 16 - U.S. President Barack Obama announces a $600 million job training program during a visit to Pennsylvania. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, announced an initiative on Wednesday (April 16) to devote $600 million (USD) to address a central challenge of today's economy: how to train workers for skills they need for jobs that are open but hard to fill.
"Today I'm taking two significant actions that don't require Congress," Obama announced during a visit to the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.
"First, we've asked more community colleges to do what you have done here at Allegheny and that is to figure out what skills local employers are looking for. And then partner with them to help design the curriculums and to prepare the students for those jobs. We want a seamless progression from community college programs to industry-recognized credentials and credit towards a college degree. And today I'm announcing that we are going to award nearly 500 million dollars to those institutions who are doing it best in all 50 states, using existing money to create opportunity for hard working folks like you."
He added, "Second and this is related: we are launching a 100 million dollar competition for what we are calling American apprenticeship grants. Now these are awards that are going to expand the kinds of apprenticeships that help young people and experienced workers get on a path towards advancement, towards better jobs, better pay, a trajectory upwards in their careers."
American companies will need 522,000 software developers and computer programmers over the next 10 years as well as nearly 110,000 pharmacists, 224,000 electricians and 941,000 customer service representatives, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. employers need people trained as welders, machinists, dental hygienists and even electrical power line installers.
The plan is part of an effort launched in Obama's State of the Union speech in January to act with his own presidential authority in the absence of a consensus from a divided Congress.
While the economy has rebounded since bottoming out early in Obama's first term, many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, and Obama has made it a priority of his second term to help the middle class and reduce income inequality.
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