Ready to Work At a Glance: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity

Washington, DC - New Actions to Expand Job-Driven Training and Broaden the Pathway to the Middle Class:

“So tonight, I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.” ~ President Obama, State of the Union, January 28, 2014

Across the country, federal job training programs help hard-working Americans find good jobs and careers, employers recruit and hire the skilled workers they need to compete, and American communities build the skilled workforces they need to attract business investment and create jobs. In order to continue to grow the economy, expand opportunity, and widen the pathway to the middle class, the President and Vice President are committed to improving training opportunities for Americans by replicating strategies that work.

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, and as part of his plan to make 2014 a Year of Action, the President announced that he was asking the Vice President to lead a review of federal training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more “job-driven”: to be responsive to the needs of employers in order to effectively place ready-to-work Americans in jobs that are available now or train them in the skills needed for better jobs. Today, the President and Vice President will announce the results of the review, including new actions by the federal government and the private sector. The Vice President will release a new report that details these actions and highlights successful job-driven strategies. The President will also sign the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will help improve business engagement and accountability across federally-funded training programs.

In the months ahead, the Administration will continue to work with business and union leaders, school administrators, workforce experts, and state and local elected officials to replicate successful training strategies in communities throughout the United States.

Engaging Employers in Partnerships to Define Needed Skills, Offer Apprenticeships, and Hire Graduates

Matching ready-to-work Americans to in-demand jobs works best when employers engage to define needed skills, shape training programs, and invest in apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

  • Competitive grants to launch hundreds of job-driven industry partnerships across the country. $950 million in job-driven grants have already been launched and will have been awarded to over 100 job-driven industry partnerships by this fall. Starting October 1, all applicants for 25 annual competitive grant programs across federal agencies must follow the job-driven checklist, meaning that over $1.4 billion in existing job training funds for youth, displaced workers, long-term unemployed, and others will be awarded to hundreds of community organizations and education and training institutions in partnership with employers.
  • Expanding American Apprenticeships. In addition to making $100 million available for the American Apprenticeship Grants to expand apprenticeships to more Americans, the Administration has engaged high-growth industries and is today announcing new resources to help employers start or expand apprenticeships.
  • Using a job-driven checklist to ensure $15 billion in job training funds are more effective. Agencies boiled down what makes training programs successful and created a Job-Driven Checklist that will be used to drive successful practices like employer engagement and apprenticeship into all training programs.

Information to Help Job Seekers, States, and Communities Make Smart Choices

In-demand skills and job opportunities evolve as our economy and technology changes. Making data-driven tools available at all levels allows individuals, employers, and taxpayers to realize higher returns on training investments.

  • Ensure all federal programs track employment outcomes. Employment measures will be added to any program without them, including programs serving Americans with disabilities and veterans.
  • Mobilizing America’s innovators. Following a White House Data Jam for Job Seekers, Glassdoor, Apploi and others are committing to make personalized guidance on job search and training freely available.
  • Give states and localities information and incentives to tailor job-driven strategies locally. Agencies will provide states guidance and flexibility to tailor job-driven strategies, offering grants for implementation.

Innovation and Promoting More Effective Strategies

We will enable agencies to pilot promising job-driven training strategies and learn how best to scale them.

  • High-impact innovations in higher education. The Department of Education will waive particular federal student aid rules to enable the testing of innovative education models awarding degrees based on demonstrated skills rather than seat time, and the Department of Labor will award $25 million to create an online skills academy designed to prepare adult learners for in-demand careers.
  • Testing effective strategies for adult learners. The Department of Agriculture will award $200 million for up to 10 pilot projects to rigorously test employment and training programs. A partnership of employers, foundations, and non-profits is launching a national competition to crowd source for the best technologies to upskill this population.
  • Testing strategies for disconnected youth. The Administration will allow up to 10 state and local pilot programs to blend funds from multiple federal programs to test new models for serving disconnected youth, and the Department of Labor will use Job Corps’ demonstration authority to experiment with new models to improve outcomes for youth under age 20.

Additional information