A Blueprint to Train Two Million Workers for High-Demand Industries through a Community College to Career Fund
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for a national commitment to help create an economy built to last by training two million workers with skills that will lead directly to a job. Many industries have difficulty filling jobs requiring specific technical skills, even with many Americans still looking for work. In the coming years, America will need to fill millions of good-paying mid- and high-level skilled positions in high-growth industries from healthcare to advanced manufacturing, clean energy to information technology.
On Monday, February 13, President Obama will host an event at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia to announce a new $8 billion Community College to Career Fund. Co-administered by the Department of Labor and the Department of Education, this Fund will help forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers for good-paying jobs in high-growth and high-demand industries. It provides funding for community colleges and states to partner with businesses to train workers in a range of high-growth and in-demand areas, such as health care, transportation, and advanced manufacturing. 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.
Later this month, Dr. Jill Biden – a community college instructor for the last 18 years and teacher for nearly three decades – and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will embark on a tour of community college campuses to highlight some of these effective industry partnerships. They will visit several community colleges and businesses that are working together to get students the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other administration officials will also visit many community colleges throughout our country.
The President’s Commitment to Build a High-Skilled Workforce Through a Community College to Career Fund
The Community College to Career Fund in the President’s Budget will advance skill building through funding a number of priority areas:
· Developing community college partnerships to train skilled workers for unfilled jobs: The Fund will support community college-based training programs that will: expand targeted training that will meet the needs of employers in growth and demand sectors; provide workers with the latest certified training and skills that will lead to good-paying jobs; and invest in registered apprenticeships and other on-the-job training opportunities. The Fund will also support paid internships for low-income community college students that will allow them to simultaneously earn credit for work-based learning and gain relevant employment experience in a high-wage, high-skill field. States will also be able to seek funding to support employer efforts to upgrade the skills of their workforce. Additionally, the Fund will provide support for regional or national industry sectors to develop skills consortia that will identify pressing workforce needs and develop solutions such as standardizing industry certifications, development of new training technologies, and collaborations with industry employers to define and describe how skills can translate to career pathways.
· Instituting “Pay for Performance” in job training: The Community College to Career Fund will support pay for performance strategies to provide incentives for training providers, community colleges, and local workforce organizations to ensure trainees find permanent jobs. For instance, states would be eligible for funding to support bonus programs for training programs whose graduates earn a credential and find quality jobs shortly after finishing the program. Pay for performance structures would provide stronger incentives for programs that effectively place individuals who face greater barriers to employment.
· Bringing jobs back to America: The Community College to Career Fund will allow federal agencies to partner with state and local governments to encourage businesses to invest in America. State and local governments will be able 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.
· Training the next generation of entrepreneurs: The Community College to Career Fund will support pathways to entrepreneurship for 5 million small business owners over three years through the nation’s workforce system and its partners, including: 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.
Building on Progress:
· Historic investments in community college-led job training: The Obama Administration has made historic investments in community colleges, which provide a linchpin for 21st century workforce training. The Obama Administration has already invested $500 million through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative to support partnerships among community colleges, employers, and Workforce Investment Boards to develop programs that provide pathways for individuals negatively impacted by trade to secure quality jobs in high wage, high skill fields including advanced manufacturing, transportation, health care, and STEM. The Administration will invest an additional $1.5 billion in this initiative over the next three years.
· Developed significant business and community college partnerships to build Americans’ skills: Last year, the Obama Administration helped launch 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. Through this initiative the President announced a new partnership of private sector employers, community colleges, and the National Association of Manufacturers to provide 500,000 community college students with industry-recognized credentials that will help them secure jobs in the manufacturing sector.