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A New Approach to Expanding Job-Driven Training

Location: Pima CC Aviation Technology

Secretary Perez tours the Aviation Technology Center at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

When Vice President Biden launched the Job-Driven Training initiative last year, he set in motion unprecedented collaboration across the federal government. Thirteen agencies, in partnership with the White House, reviewed federal training programs to ensure that they help ready-to-work Americans prepare for ready-to-fill, high-demand jobs and careers.

For example, when the Department of Agriculture looked to make their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Employment & Training program more job-driven, they worked closely with Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to develop a $200 million competitive state pilot program that was authorized in last year’s Farm Bill.

That’s just the start. In order to weave this level of coordination into the DNA of our agencies – we launched the Skills Working Group. On February 4, I was joined by National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, as well as Deputy Secretaries and senior leadership from Energy, Transportation, Defense, Veterans Affairs, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and the Social Security Administration for the first meeting.

The Skills Working Group will initially focus on upskilling our workforce, expanding apprenticeships and other core drivers of middle class economics that President Obama discussed in last month’s State of the Union address.

To double the number of Registered Apprentices in five years, federal agencies are leveraging funding streams like the GI Bill and Federal Work Study and create new apprenticeship opportunities in the transportation, energy, manufacturing, and defense industries which are outlined in a new federal resource playbook.

In the area of “upskilling” we’re partnering with employers across a range of industries to help workers access training and credentials to advance in their careers, which opens up additional opportunities for those just entering the workforce.

We’re testing new approaches around energy jobs in Lake Charles, LA; better ways to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce in Pittsburgh; and coordinated state, local, and federal efforts in Detroit. Rigorous evaluation is a big part of these efforts so we can scale what works and fix what doesn’t.

All of this means imploding traditional stovepipes and better aligning programs, policies, and funding streams at the state and local levels. This includes exciting work that Secretary Foxx is leading at the Department of Transportation to build ladders of opportunity in transportation careers and a new Jobs Strategy Council that Energy Secretary Moniz launched last month.

There are a number of other ways that we’re working together that will also engage state and local partners and look forward to sharing updates in the coming weeks and months.


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Comments (2)

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  1. karl jaensch says:

    I was excited to learn that there’s a “federal resource playbook” for apprenticeship.
    I was very disappointed by the playbook’s sketchy content, by what seem to me to be very labor-intensive examples of actual implementations and the appearance that one strategy appears to be a mis-representation.
    I think you-all have gotta make it easier to make the various options implementable without tons of work.
    And be more specific in your “how to do it” discussions.
    The apparent mis-representation is the claim that FWS funds can be “to pay a portion of the training
    wages of eligible students who are apprentices while they are enrolled in eligible
    certificate or degree programs”.
    My impression is that FWS help pay for part-time student jobs at educational institutions.
    FWS wages paid to students in jobs at educational institutions are not “training wages” paid to apprentices while they are learning while working (unless the students are apprenticed to learn how to do whatever work they are doing while in a FWS-supported job — which is unlikely to be the case).
    Plus, it doesn’t make sense to suggest that an apprentice (i.e., a person who is working while learning) can also work in a FWS-assisted second job to earn money to help pay the fees at an educational institution.
    Finally, one has to be concerned about the hiring commitments of employers that have to be bribed to take on apprentices, as your “federal resource playbook” discusses over an over and over again.
    Qualiy apprenticeships are hosted by quality employers. I suggest that apprenticeships with employers that demand financial help need to be looked at verrrrry carefully to ensure they don’t result in a waste of public funds and another failure experience for a poor person.

  2. alexbrown says:

    Nice article ! very useful information about the new approach to expanding job driven training