Obama Launches $600 Million Job-Training Initiative, Which Will Better Train Americans For The Workforce

On April 16, President Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden announced plans to expand U.S. job training grant programs, which will cost a total of $600 million. The announcement comes in an era in which unemployment numbers are still high, coming in at around 6.7 percent as of March 2014.

The job-training program expansion will be a two-pronged approach: First, $500 million will be dedicated to an effort by the Labor Department to strengthen relationships between community colleges and businesses, and create training programs to help future employees expand their job skills. Secondly, $100 million will go into improving and implementing apprentice programs across the country that will help train people for difficult jobs, such as IT. Said Obama:

Too many Americans, if they are lucky enough to have a job, are working harder and harder to get ahead. We’ve got to make sure we have an economy that’s more than just growing for the top down, but from the middle class out.

Through granting this money, the White House hopes to vastly increase workers' qualifications and send them out into the job industry. According to statistics by the White House, 87 percent of workers who finish their apprenticeship programs are able to find jobs. Unfortunately, the U.S. is also currently short on apprenticeship positions especially in comparison to Europe, and this grant aims to bridge that gap.

Obama made the announcement with Biden at a community college in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, which is south of Pittsburgh. Applications for the community college-focused grants will open later this week, and community colleges that win the grants will be specially paired up with businesses by the Labor Department.

Applications for the apprenticeship-focused grants won't open until later this fall. The money for these specific grants comes from H-1B fees, which employers pay to find skilled workers beyond national borders.

Earlier in Jan. 2014, during the State of the Union, Obama mentioned that Biden needed to review federal programs and ensure they could "train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now."

Biden has until July 30, 2013 to submit a report with the review of federal programs. Tick-tock, Biden! You've got about three months to make the job situation in the U.S. better.