In addition to its tuition-free community college plan, the White House on Friday released a proposal for a new technical job-training fund. The new money would build on a similar $2-billion workforce grant program aimed at two-year colleges, which expired last year.
The president wants the federal government to pay for the creation of 100 new job centers around the country. The focus of the centers would be to "help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills to work into growing fields with significant numbers of middle-class jobs that local employers are trying to fill," the White House said in a fact sheet, "such as energy, IT and advanced manufacturing."
Initial grants under the plan would pay for pilot programs, which would bring together colleges and employers. Larger grants would pay to expand programs that prove successful based on graduation and job-placement rates, according to the administration.
The White House did not provide a budget estimate for the proposal, which is dubbed the American Technical Training Fund. As with the community college plan, the president presumably will announce more details later this month.
The Association for Career and Technical Education applauded the proposed fund, saying it recognizes the "great need" for additional support of technical training programs, which are necessary to "keep America's workforce globally competitive."
Roughly 12 million college students receive career and technical training, the association said, as well as 94 percent of high-school students.
"While this initiative will provide critical resources to build capacity, incentivize innovation and pilot new approaches in some areas," LeAnn Wilson, the association's executive direct, said in a written statement, "we must prioritize a robust federal investment into the entire CTE system through proven approaches, particularly the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act."
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