US President Barack Obama launches a $600 million jobs initiative aimed at training the workforce. According to Washington the program will offer grants “to support job-driven training, like apprenticeships, that will expand partnerships with industry, businesses, unions, community colleges, and training organizations to train workers in the skills they need.”
Although the unemployment rate in the US has decreased recently to 6.7 percent, there are still too many Americans unable to find quality job. On the other hand the latest surveys indicate that the American companies are suffering with the lack of qualified workforce. Reuters reports that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the American companies will need 522,000 software developers and computer programmers over the next 10 years as well as nearly 110,000 pharmacists, 224,000 electricians and 941,000 customer service representatives. The White House believes that the $600 million investment in job training will help to accomplish both tasks.
“Given the pace of technology and education in the economy, the business workforce needs are constantly changing,” said a senior administration official on condition of anonymity, quoted by the Washington Post. According to the official the main challenge is to train workers for the jobs of the moment and also for the jobs of the future globalized economy.
The major part of the $600 million investment will be directed to the US Labor Department which will invite community colleges to come up with job training programs. Single colleges can apply for about $2.5 million, while regional educational clusters will receive $15 million grants.
It should be noted that a program of investing in local community colleges around the country, called the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, has been existing for three years.
“Through the first three rounds of grants more than 800 colleges across the country are helping to build strong ladders of opportunity that allow people to secure a foothold in the middle class, while also supporting businesses to compete and grow,” said US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez, cited by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Another $100 million will be redirected from a Labor Department fund to support programs aimed at training specialists in information technology field, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
While many Americans still remain unemployed or underemployed, the US President claims the program will help the middle class and will reduce the gap between the rich and the poor in the US. However, experts doubt whether $600 million dollars will be enough investment.