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 Home > News & Policies > March 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 2, 2005

Fact Sheet: Better Training for Better Jobs

Today's Presidential Action

  • Today, President Bush visited Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, to highlight his proposals to increase flexibility in our Nation's job training programs to double the number of workers receiving job training, from 200,000 to 400,000 a year.
  • The President's Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Plus proposal in his Fiscal Year 2006 budget gives Governors broad flexibility to direct job training resources by consolidating the four major Department of Labor (DOL) job training and employment grants into one $4 billion state grant program, and gives Governors the option to supplement the consolidated grant with resources from a menu of other Federal job training and employment programs for a combined total of more than $7.5 billion in available resources.
  • To ensure greater accountability, President Bush's WIA Plus proposal requires all states to achieve 100-percent employment for workers trained with Federal dollars under this program within 10 years.
  • Today, the President also highlighted his other proposals to ensure every adult can access the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace. Including his initiatives to mobilize community colleges, the President's proposals will train 400,000 workers annually twice as many as are trained under the current system.

Background on Today's Presidential Action

America's growing economy requires a flexible, highly skilled workforce, and the President is committed to providing American workers with the training they need to succeed. President Bush believes we must ensure every adult, especially low- and middle-income Americans, can access the training necessary to close the skills gap in America, and his new proposals are designed to give states more flexibility to fill high growth jobs with skilled American workers, and to hold states accountable for employment results.

States need additional flexibility to provide workers with the training they need. Since the Workforce Investment Act was enacted in 1998, 41 states have asked the Federal government for 162 waivers to gain the flexibility needed to respond to economic conditions. The current system of Federal job training programs is too complex, with multiple funding streams and too many resources are spent on bureaucracy rather than training.

  • Skills to Succeed with the President's WIA Plus Plan
    • The President's WIA Plus plan cuts through layers of duplication and red tape so Governors can focus on helping workers get the skills they need to succeed in Americas 21st century economy. WIA Plus makes flexibility the rule, not an exception requiring a Federal waiver.
    • By using taxpayer money wisely, the President's reform of Federal job training programs will measure success by results achieved, not by good intentions alone. DOL will work with each state to track annual progress and improve performance, and state performance will be ranked and released publicly each year.
  • The President's Current Initiatives to Improve Job Training

    High-growth jobs of the 21st century require post-secondary training, and many adults are in need of short-term training and are not receiving it today. The President's job training proposals make the system more user-friendly, more responsive to the needs of the local economy, and more accessible for todays workers.
    • Community-Based Job Training Grants. To help America's community colleges train 100,000 additional workers for the industries that are creating the most new jobs, the President proposed and Congress enacted $250 million in FY 2005 to create Community-Based Job Training Grants. The President's initiative will build on DOL's successful High Growth Job Training Initiative, launched under President Bush in 2002, which has provided $163 million to 87 partnerships nationwide between community colleges, workforce agencies, and employers. The President's FY 2006 Budget proposes to continue this grant program with $250 million to help community colleges train workers with the skills most in demand by local employers.
    • Community College Access Grants. The President's FY 2006 budget provides $125 million topromotedual-enrollment programs, which allow high school students to earn college credit, andtoencourage states to create policies to make it easier for students to transfer credits earned at community colleges to four-year institutions. Current state funding rules do not encourage dual-enrollment programs because high schools and community colleges each receive funds on a per-student basis, and are therefore hesitant to share students.
    • Expanding Pell Grants for Low-Income Students. The President's FY 2006 budget increases the maximum Pell Grant award by $100 each year for the next five years (from $4,050 today to $4,550 in 2010) to help more students in need pay for higher education and prepare for a lifetime of achievement. To pay for this, the President's budget request increases investments in Pell Grants by more than $15 billion over the next 10 years. Many low- and middle-income students across America rely upon Pell Grants to afford a quality, postsecondary education to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace, and nearly 40% of Pell Grant recipients attend community colleges.
    • New Loans for Short-Term Training. To make worker training more accessible and affordable, the President proposes to make loans available to help workers pay for short-term training that leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate. The President's FY 2006 budget includes funding to generate up to $284 million in loans to 377,000 students including older workers, workers transitioning to new jobs, and workers pursuing a second career to upgrade their skills.

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