President Barack Obama announced his support today for expanding Skills for Americaâ€™s Future, an industry-led initiative to partner community colleges and businesses to meet the demands of the labor market. Specifically, Obama stressed the importance of increasing job training in the manufacturing sector, an area that he views as critical to strengthening and rebuilding the economy.
Plans to increase the reach of Skills for Americaâ€™s Future include helping 500,000 community college students to earn industry-recognized credentials, and providing a website to connect job-seekers to businesses. The President added that more high school students will have an opportunity to earn college credits. The initiative would benefit industry as well as students by addressing the current mismatch between skills earned by students and those required to fill vacant positions.
Applause erupted from the audience, filled with business and non-profit leaders, when Obama pushed Congress to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) soon. He wants the new legislation to build on innovative and effective programs, and to eliminate ineffective programs.
â€œRight now, there are people across America with talents just waiting to be tapped, sparks waiting to be lit,â€ Obama said. â€œOur job is to light them and thereâ€™s no time to lose when weâ€™ve got folks looking for work, when weâ€™ve got companies that need to stay competitive in this 21st Century economy, and when we know that weâ€™ve got to rebuild the middle class. A lot of thatâ€™s going to have to do with how well we do in manufacturing and how well we do in jobs that are related to making products here in the United States of America.â€
Career Technical Education (CTE) offers tremendous opportunities for and access to training in the manufacturing sector. Industry-verified Knowledge and Skills Statements ensure that students graduate from CTE programs with the skills demanded by industry.