WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN. (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Stressing the importance of having job-training programs that work, President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered a "soup to nuts" review of federal workforce training initiatives and pledged to copy the most successful ones.
"Not all of today's good jobs need a four-year degree. But the ones that don't need a college degree do need some specialized training," Obama said. Obama said he wants a "soup to nuts" review because not all federal job-training programs do what they're supposed to. He said he wants to move the government away from a "train and pray" approach to job training, where "you train workers first, and then you hope they get a job."
The findings from the review will be applied later in the year to a competition to award $500 million in existing funds to design programs that pair community colleges with industry. Obama called on Congress to be more reliable in funding proven programs, while vowing not to let congressional inaction stand in the way.
"There are a lot of folks who do not have time to wait for Congress," Obama said. "They need to learn new skills right now to get a new job right now." House Republicans pushed back in a letter from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders to Obama on Thursday, arguing that Biden's review was duplicative because the Government Accountability Office identified redundancies in a comprehensive review it completed in 2011. They urged Obama to press the Democratic-led Senate to vote on a House-passed bill to consolidate programs and link training to available jobs.
White House press secretary Jay Carney couldn't explain how Biden's review would be different from the GAO's, but he said that whenever Biden "is put in charge of an effort like this, it gets done, and it will be effective."
Before returning to the White House, Obama was stopping in Tennessee to speak at Nashville's McGavock Comprehensive High School. He was expected to address the fatal off-campus shooting earlier this week of a 15-year-old student by a 17-year-old classmate.