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 Home > News & Policies > August 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 10, 2004

Fact Sheet: Job Training for the 21st Century Economy

America's economy is strong and getting stronger. The President's economic policies are creating jobs and driving steady economic growth, but there is still more work to be done. The U.S. economy is changing, and President Bush understands that many Americans are working hard to make ends meet. That is why the President continues to push for pro-growth policies that will strengthen our economy, help create more jobs, lower health care costs, and raise Americans' standard of living. Many of the new jobs being created require new skills. The President is committed to helping American workers acquire the skills they need to access the jobs of the 21st century.

President Bush's Job Training Initiatives

  • High Growth Job Training Initiative
    Since 2002, the Department of Labor (DOL) has directed more than $92 million to 47 public-private partnerships in which companies in growing industries work with community colleges and others to ensure that workers get the skills they need to compete in emerging fields like biotechnology and high-tech manufacturing.
  • Jobs for the 21st Century
    President Bush's Jobs for the 21st Century initiative is a comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by strengthening post-secondary education and job training and improving high school education. This plan includes over $500 million in new funding for education and job training programs.
    • Improving High School Education: The President's plan will improve the quality of education at our Nation's high schools and better prepare students for success in higher education and the job market, including:
      • Creation of a Striving Readers Initiative to provide extra help to middle and high school students who fall behind in reading. The President's FY 2005 budget provides $100 million for the Striving Readers Initiative.
      • Increased funding for the Mathematics and Science Partnership Program to provide extra help to middle and high school students who fall behind in math. The President's FY 2005 budget provides an additional $120 million for the Program.
      • Expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) programs in low-income schools. The President's FY 2005 budget provides an increase of $28 million for the expansion of AP programs.
      • Incentives to invite math and science professionals from the private sector to teach part-time in our high schools. The President's FY 2005 budget also includes $227 million in loan forgiveness for math, science, and special education teachers in low-income schools.
      • Funding to make the State Scholars program, which requires 4 years of English, 3 years of math and science, and 3 years of social studies, available nationwide. State Scholars encourages high school students to take more rigorous courses to prepare them for college and the workplace.
    • Strengthening Access to Post-Secondary Education and Job Training: The President's plan will also expand opportunities for workers to access post-secondary education to get the job training and skills they need to compete in a changing and dynamic economy and fill jobs in emerging industries, including:
      • $250 million in the President's FY 2005 budget to fund partnerships between community colleges and employers in high-demand job sectors. Community-based Job Training Grants build on the successes of the President's High-Growth Job Training Initiative, a strategic approach that has provided seed money to fund job training partnerships between community colleges and local high-growth industries. These new competitive Community-based Job Training grants would be used for training in community and technical colleges that are linked with local employers looking for more skilled workers.
      • $12.9 billion (up from $8.8 billion in 2001) in the President's FY 2005 budget overall for Pell Grants to low-income students pursuing a degree or certificate which can be used to attend technical schools, community colleges, or four-year colleges. The President's request includes an additional $33 million for expanded Pell Grants, which gives an additional $1,000 per year for the first two years, for low-income students who prepare for college by taking demanding courses in high school -- the State Scholars curriculum. Since 2001, the number of Pell Grant recipients has increased by one million and the maximum award has increased by $300.
  • Better Education for Better Jobs
    The President's initiatives would result in more students graduating from high schools and colleges with the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century. Encouraging more students to pursue math and science will also help the U.S. continue to lead the world in innovation and will result in better jobs and a brighter economic future for young Americans. With a better trained and better educated workforce, America will continue to be the best place in the world to do business. The President's plan strengthens and modernizes vocational and technical education, expands math and science education for all students, enables more low-income students to pursue degrees in math and science, and enables educators to determine whether high schools are graduating students with the skills they need to succeed.
    • Strengthening and Modernizing Support for Vocational Education: President Bush proposed to modernize the major Federal program for vocational education, the Perkins Vocational Education program, to better serve the needs of the 21st century worker. The President's proposal redirects $1 billion in annual funding from the Perkins Vocational Education program into a new Secondary and Technical Education program (Sec Tech) and requires that high schools participating in the program offer 4 years of English, 3 years of math and science, and 3 years of social studies, in addition to their vocational education curriculum. The program would continue to support the work of community and technical colleges to prepare youth and adults for tomorrow's jobs.
    • Presidential Math and Science Scholars Fund: To ensure that America remains the world leader in the innovation economy -- and to ensure that America's graduates have the training they need to compete for the best jobs of the 21st century -- President Bush wants to expand opportunities for math and science education in colleges and universities. The President proposed establishing a new public-private partnership to provide $100 million in grants to low-income students who study math or science. Under this plan, approximately 20,000 low-income students would receive up to $5,000 each to study math or science. Students would have to be eligible for Pell Grants to receive this additional $5,000, although this new fund would be run separately from the Pell Grant program.
    • Assessing Whether High Schools Are Producing Educated Graduates: To ensure that students graduating from high school have the skills they need to succeed in post-secondary education or careers, the President's plan would include 12th graders in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Currently, states are required to participate in the NAEP in 4th and 8th grades in reading and math every two years. Extending this requirement to 12th grade will enable educators to assess whether high schools are meeting the needs of students so they can learn the skills they will need to succeed. It will also help to identify areas where educators are not meeting the needs of students and to strengthen curricula to ensure improvement.
  • More Choices for Workers in Training Programs
    President Bush has proposed significant reforms to Federal worker training programs to double the number of workers receiving job training, to ensure those programs work better for America's workers, and to close the skills gap so we fill every high-growth job with a well-trained American worker. The President proposed:
    • Providing $4 billion in Federal job training funds to the Nation's Governors with less Federal red tape and more flexibility;
    • Putting strict limits on overhead in major Federal job training programs by closing loopholes and enforcing limits to ensure tax dollars support training for workers who need it -- reducing overhead costs by an additional $300 million;
    • Giving workers more choices about their job training by increasing the use of personal job training accounts called Innovation Training Accounts (ITAs); and
    • Training an additional 200,000 workers through programs run by community colleges, unions, and businesses.