Obama Announces $8 Billion Fund to Decrease Unemployment

The effort will equip two million community college students with skills leading directly to jobs.  

Posted: 02/13/2012 05:12 PM EST

Education is the key to success and President Barack Obama knows it. As costs at four-year colleges have soared, enrollments at community colleges have increased by 25 percent during the last decade. Unfortunately, as more students graduate, it seems as if fewer jobs are available.

 

In order to halt the increasing number of those unemployed, on Monday, the commander-in-chief called on Congress to create an $8 billion fund to get community colleges and businesses to work together and train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs as part of his proposed $4 trillion budget for 2013.

  

The plan, called “Community College to Career Fund,” will advance skill-building through a number of priority areas, including:

 

— Support for community college-based training programs that will provide workers with the latest certified training

 

— Support for paid internships for low-income community college students, allowing them to simultaneously earn credit for work-based learning

 

— Incentives for training providers, community colleges and local workforce organizations to ensure trainees find permanent jobs

 

— The ability of state and local governments to apply for grants to encourage companies to locate in the U.S. because of the availability of training to quickly skill up the local workforce

 

— Pathways to entrepreneurship through a six-week online training course on entrepreneurship that could reach up to 500,000 new entrepreneurs, and an intensive six-month entrepreneurship-training program resulting in entrepreneurship certification for 100,000 small business owners

 

No matter what type of degree you may have, in this economy, a sheet of paper is not an effective shield against unemployment. Even African-Americans with a 4-year college degree have an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent — almost double the unemployment rate for white workers with a similar level of education. The new fund administered by the Education and Labor departments, however, seeks to equip workers with invaluable skills in areas including transportation, advanced manufacturing and health care.

 

“These investments will give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers where people learn crucial skills that local businesses are looking for right now, ensuring that employers have the skilled workforce they need and workers are gaining industry-recognized credentials to build strong careers,” the White House said in a statement.

 

The Obama administration has already invested $500 million in community colleges through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Initiative, a program created to support partnerships between community colleges, employers and workforce investment boards.

 

In addition, last year, the Obama Administration launched Skills for America’s Future, an industry-led initiative to improve industry partnerships with community colleges and “build a nationwide network to maximize workforce development strategies, job-training programs, and job placements.”

 

For more information on the new fund, visit here.

 

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 (Photo:  JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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