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White House embarks on $600 million job-training program

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by Joseph Earnest  April 16, 2014


Newscast Media WASHINGTONToday, as part of an effort to to create new opportunities for all hard-working Americans to get ahead, the President and Vice President are announcing new federal investments using existing funds to support job-driven training.


Programs like apprenticeships, that will expand partnerships with industry, businesses, unions, community colleges, and training organizations to train workers in the skills they need.    

Employers, unions, and foundations are joining these efforts with new commitments to support job-driven training. These steps are part of President Obama’s commitment to make 2014 a year of action, acting with Congress when possible but also using his pen and his phone – calling on businesses, philanthropy, non-profits, states, and local communities to act.

The $500 Million Job Training Competition:

Today, the Department of Labor is releasing the application for partnerships of community colleges, employers and industry to develop training programs that are job-driven – that is – designed to respond to the demands of employers so people get placed in jobs. As part of a nearly $500 million competition, all grantees will be required to identify sectors with open jobs to fill, partner with the public workforce system and employers in that sector to address the skills needed for these open jobs, and create pathways from entry level positions to more advanced positions to ensure room for growth for employees with even the lowest starting skills levels.

This program is a part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College and Career Training (TAA-CCCT) competitive grant program that has, over the last three years, supported community colleges preparing dislocated workers and other adults for jobs available in their regional economies. For the first time, this year’s funding will prioritize three key goals by providing larger grants to applicants who propose to address them:

Additional $100 million to expanding apprenticeships for good middle class jobs:

The Department of Labor is making $100 million in existing H-1B funds available for American Apprenticeship Grants to reward partnerships that help more workers participate in apprenticeships. This competition will help more Americans access this proven path to employment and the middle class: 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs and the average starting wage for apprenticeship graduates is over $50,000.

The new American Apprenticeship Grants competition – which will be launched in the fall – will focus on partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations that:

  • Launch apprenticeship models in new, high-growth fields: Many fast-growing occupations and industries with open positions, such as in information technology, high-tech services, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing, have an opportunity to adopt and adapt apprenticeship programs, to meet their skilled workforce needs.
  • Align apprenticeships to pathways for further learning and career advancement: Apprenticeships that embed industry-recognized skills certifications or reward workplace learning with college credit provide an affordable educational pathway for those who need to earn while they learn, and apprenticeships linked to pre-apprenticeship programs can help more Americans access this training and get on an early pathway to a good career.
  • Scale apprenticeship models that work: Across the country, there are pockets of excellence in apprenticeship, but all too often these successful models are unknown in other regions or to other employers. These grants will build from strength and invest in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships – including to market the value of apprenticeships, make them more attractive to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented, increase the return on investment for workers and, or build national and regional partnerships to expand apprenticeships.

In addition, the Departments of Labor, Education, and Veteran Affairs are reforming their programs to enable the use of education benefits for apprenticeships.

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