FACT SHEET: Providing More Americans with Affordable Access to Education and Job Training Opportunities to Help Grow the Middle Class
Education and job training are among the surest pathways to the middle class. To mark the beginning of the school year, the President, the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary Arne Duncan will travel across the country in the coming days to highlight the need for affordable, quality career and education choices for students and to discuss some of the many ways the Administration is working to provide all Americans with the skills and knowledge they need to acquire good-paying jobs and grow the economy.
Today, at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, the President will announce new steps to expand apprenticeships and to continue to build momentum nationwide to make community college free for responsible students. Specifically, the President will announce:
- Grants to provide ”earn and learn” training opportunities to 34,000 new apprentices: The Department of Labor is awarding $175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants to 46 public-private partnerships marrying the efforts of employers, organized labor, non-profits, local governments, and educational institutions to expand high-quality apprenticeships. The winning grantees have pledged to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries including health care, IT and advanced manufacturing over the next five years.
- The creation of the College Promise Advisory Board to further efforts to make two years of community college free: Today, the President will announce the independent creation of the College Promise Advisory Board, led by Chair Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice-Chair former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer and directed by former Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter. The board will bring together luminaries and leaders to highlight successes in places like Tennessee, Chicago, and Michigan, share best practices and models, and recruit more of their peers to join the cause. Learn more at CollegePromise.org.
- The launch of Heads Up America, an independent Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of America’s community colleges: An initiative of the College Promise Advisory Board and digital agency, Huge, the the Heads Up America campaign will work to create a movement to support community colleges around the country. It will give students, teachers, counselors, administrators, alumni, businesses, and other leaders a role in spreading the word about the value and impact that universal access to community college will have on our future. Heads Up America will call on everyone to join the movement to make two years of community college free for responsible students around the country. As part of Heads Up America, the College Promise Advisory Board will release a PSA featuring students, community college alumni and celebrities. Learn more at HeadsUpAmerica.us.
The President is returning to Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, where in 2009 he first launched an effort to encourage more community college graduates and invest in community college programs that meet local needs. Macomb Community College is one of the winning American Apprenticeship grantees announced today. Macomb, a member of the Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership, has a successful track record of apprenticeship in manufacturing, partnering with over 300 companies and with 160 apprentices in training, and is looking to expand both the number of apprentices it trains in manufacturing and to grow into new IT occupations, including health care IT. Their success in expanding opportunity to more students mirrors what’s happening at institutions across the nation. Macomb also participates in Kalamazoo Promise, through which anonymous donors pay up to 100 percent of tuition at any of Michigan's state colleges or universities for graduates of the public high schools of Kalamazoo. Roughly 5,000 students have benefited over the past eight years. Kalamazoo’s success has inspired a dozen cities across Michigan from Detroit to Battle Creek to launch similar scholarships for their local public school students.
American Apprenticeship Grants
The President is committed to creating more opportunities for hard-working Americans to get ahead by advancing job-driven training initiatives that help American workers acquire the skills they need to succeed in good jobs that are available now. Hands-on apprenticeships, where workers earn and learn at the same time, are a proven path to good, secure middle class jobs. In fact, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000. And the return on investment for employers is impressive – studies from across the globe suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity, reduced waste, and greater front-line innovation.
The $175 million in American Apprenticeship Grants that the President is announcing today will help train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries as diverse as health care, IT, and advanced manufacturing while scaling up proven programs in construction, transportation, and energy over the next five years.
American Apprenticeship Grants will help expand apprenticeships into growing industries while also aligning apprenticeship with pathways for further learning and career advancement, scaling apprenticeship models that work, and providing access to apprenticeship for all of America’s talent. For example:
- Silicon Valley High Tech Apprenticeship Initiative (Santa Clara, CA): Led by Mission College, this IT apprenticeship will train over 300 apprentices to deploy and maintain the critical IT systems and infrastructure now ubiquitous in everyday life in partnership with some of the biggest developers of those systems including Cisco Systems and VMWare.
- AHIMA Managing the Talent Pipeline in Health Information Management (national program): Working with healthcare employers ranging from Pfizer to the Seattle Children’s Hospital, the AHIMA Foundation is using a competency-based, on-the-job apprenticeship training program in healthcare informatics to help recent college graduates and career changers break into well-paying healthcare data management careers.
- OpenTech Los Angeles Regional Apprenticeship Collaborative (Los Angeles, CA): In partnership with employers such as DIRECTV, Toyota, Farmers Insurance, and AltaMed, this apprenticeship program is setting a goal to train 1,000 at-risk youth for careers in high-growth IT and biotechnology jobs.
- Focus: HOPE American Apprenticeship Program (Detroit, MI): Focus: HOPE has been a leading non-profit community training provider in Detroit for over twenty years. Its adult education programs help workers acquire the gateway skills needed to advance to better employment. With its American Apprenticeship Grant, Focus: HOPE will expand these proven programs while adding new disciplines to keep up with the changing technology powering advanced manufacturing jobs.
- International Transportation Learning Center (Silver Spring, MD): Partnering with Wider Opportunities for Women and the Amalgamated Transit Union, the International Transportation Learning Center will expand apprenticeship programs proven to yield a safety and performance dividend in transit rail industries. The grants will scale up their apprenticeship for signal maintainers and transit coach operators to nearly 1,300 workers in metropolitan areas across the United States.
To learn more about the efforts of all 46 winning American Apprenticeship grantees, click HERE.
The American Apprenticeship Grants build on tremendous progress underway. Since the President’s call to action in his State of the Union 2014, the United States has added more than 55,000 new apprenticeship opportunities, the largest increase in nearly a decade. And action from employers, colleges, labor, states, and local governments are building on that momentum.
- Employers, colleges, and labor leading on apprenticeship: Over 140 employers, colleges, and labor organizations have signed on to be ApprenticeshipUSA LEADERS (Leaders of Excellence in Apprenticeship Development, Education and Research) by expanding their own training programs and encouraging their peers to get on board. Together, employers in the LEADERS program have pledged to create nearly 20,000 new apprenticeship positions. And during National Apprenticeship Week, starting November 2nd, across the country, these LEADERS will showcase their efforts at open houses for workers interested in apprenticeship.
- States and local governments taking homegrown action to expand apprenticeship: Fourteen states, through local leadership from governors, mayors, and state representatives have expanded apprenticeship by more than 20% - including Michigan, which launched a state-wide skilled trades training fund to support apprenticeship, California which unlocked additional funds to cover training costs, and Kentucky which created a novel, statewide youth apprenticeship program.
- Colleges awarding double credit by linking apprenticeship to college degrees: Over 200 colleges across the country have joined the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC) by awarding college credit towards a degree for completion of an apprenticeship program.
In addition, yesterday, the White House and the Department of Labor also released a Progress Update on Job Driven Training and Apprenticeships, detailing the success of the Administration’s jobs-driven training efforts, which have directed more than $1.2 billion in competitive grants and $8 billion in non-competitive formula funding for training investments into job-driven strategies. As the report details, following the Vice President’s Job-Driven Training review last year, federal agencies have taken actions to make programs serving over 21 million Americans every year more effective and accountable for matching and training Americans into good jobs that employers need to fill.
The success of these job-driven training efforts proves just what we can accomplish when we invest in the proven models that build the skills required for workers to succeed and access the middle class. In his FY 2016 Budget, the President increased funding for job training and employment services, and called for Congress to invest $100 million in competitive grants to strengthen state and industry apprenticeships and to create a $2 billion Apprenticeship Training Fund to help double the number of apprentices in America.
In contrast, the Senate and House budget bills fail to support the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the most significant reform to our national workforce system in nearly 20 years, which last year passed the Senate 97 to 3. The Senate funds the core WIOA and Wagner-Peyser employment and training programs at $650 million less than the President’s Budget, while the House bill reduces the funding by nearly $500 million, harming our ability to compete and removing opportunities for workers to gain the skills they need to move into the middle class.
Under the Republican bills, next year 2 million fewer workers would receive job training and help getting back to work, as compared to the President’s Budget. The Senate bill, in particular, slashes funding for emergency grants to help workers whose jobs are lost as a result of mass layoffs and natural disasters, providing only $74 million for program year 2016 – $167 million (69 percent) less than the President’s Budget.
America’s College Promise
Nearly a century ago, a movement that made high school widely available helped lead to rapid growth in the educational attainment of Americans, driving decades of economic growth and prosperity. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world. But other nations have matched or exceeded our success. Now, more than ever, Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their careers.
Today, the President will announce the following Administration and independent actions, building on the America’s College Promise proposal he announced in January 2015 to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost:
- The creation of the independent College Promise Advisory Board: Chaired by Dr. Jill Biden, Vice-Chaired by former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer and directed by former Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter, the board will bring together luminaries and leaders, share best practices and ideas for models to make community college free, and serve as a way for those leaders to recruit more of their peers to join the cause. Board members include:
- Ellen Alberding, President & Board Member, The Joyce Foundation
- Matthew C. Boulay, Program Officer for Veterans Program, Kisco Foundation
- Randy Boyd, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
- J. Noah Brown, President & CEO, Association of Community College Trustees
- Walter G. Bumphus, President & CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
- Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor, West Sacramento
- Phil Clegg, Executive Director, American Student Association of Community Colleges
- Alexandra Flores-Quilty, President, United States Student Association
- Brian A. Gallagher, President & CEO, United Way Worldwide
- Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association
- Richard D. George, President & CEO, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation
- Mark Haas, Oregon State Senator, District 14
- Anne Johnson, Executive Director, Generation Progress
- Martha Kanter, College Promise Campaign
- Chauncy Lennon, Managing Director of Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase
- Harold O. Levy, Executive Director, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
- Stanley S. Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President, IBM Foundation
- Andrew N. Liveris, CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
- Joe May, Chancellor, Dallas County Community College District
- Gail O. Mellow, President, LaGuardia Community College
- Jen Mishory, Executive Director, Young Invincibles
- William F. L. Moses, Managing Director of Education, Kresge Foundation
- Eduardo J. Padron, President, Miami Dade Community College
- Wade Randlett, CEO, Transportation Fuels Division of General Biofuels
- Lauren A. Segal, President & CEO, Scholarship America
- Randy Smith, President, Rural Community College Alliance
- Thomas J. Snyder, President, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
- LaVerne Evans Srinivasan, Vice President, Education Programs, Carnegie Corporation of New York
- Karen A. Stout, President & CEO, Achieving the Dream
- Scott J. Svonkin, President of the Board of Trustees, Los Angeles Community College District
- William H. Swanson, Chairman & CEO (retired), Raytheon Company
- Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
- The launch of Heads Up America, an independent Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of America’s community colleges: An initiative of the College Promise Advisory Board and digital agency, Huge, the Heads Up America campaign will work to create a movement to support community colleges around the country. It will give students, teachers, counselors, administrators, alumni, business and other leaders a role in spreading the word about the value and impact that universal access to community college will have on our future. Heads Up America will call on everyone to join the movement to make two years of community college free for responsible students around the country. As part of Heads Up America, the College Promise Advisory Board will release a PSA featuring students, community college alumni and celebrities.
- The release of a White House report on the nation’s progress toward free community college for responsible students: The report describes growing momentum behind efforts to make at least two years of college the norm, just like high school is today. President Obama’s plan was inspired by efforts in Tennessee and Chicago. So far this year, new programs have been launched statewide in Oregon and Minnesota and in communities in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio. Since January, legislators in 11 additional states proposed new programs. Community colleges are ready for action: a quarter of community college Presidents believe it is likely that their institutions will offer a tuition-free (or nearly free) program within the next two years, almost doubling the number of free programs available. Students are ready, too: Tennessee’s newly launched state-wide program for free community college had nearly 60,000 students apply this year, and the state expects that ultimately 15,000 students will enroll in the program this fall.
- The Administration has also undertaken efforts to better align community college programs to in-demand jobs: As described in the report, over the past four years, nearly 700 community colleges have received $2 billion in federal funding to design education and training programs, working closely with employers and industry that prepare workers for jobs in-demand in their regional economies, such as health care, IT and energy. These programs have shown early success – through the end of FY2014, more than 1,900 new or modified training programs have been launched. In addition, among the more than 176,000 individuals who had enrolled in these programs 85 percent either completed a program or continued the program into a second year.To expand on these successes, the President proposed $200 million for an American Technical Training Fund in this year’s budget that would award competitive grants to programs that have strong employer partnerships and include work-based learning opportunities, provide accelerated training, and are scheduled to accommodate part-time work. Programs could be created within current community colleges or other training institutions.
America’s College Promise and the campaign throughout the country to deliver two years of free community college to hard working students are part of the President’s continuing record of success to make college more affordable. The President has doubled investments in college scholarships by expanding Pell Grants and American Opportunity Tax Credit; made student loans more affordable by cutting interest rates and allowing borrowers to cap student loan payments at 10 percent of income; and is promoting innovation and competition to bring down costs and improve college quality.