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Obama to Speak About Job Training

By Scott Wilson
The nation's economy lost 539,000 jobs last month, and the nation's leader wants the unemployed to know what the government is doing to help them.

Facing rising Republican criticism as jobless claims continue to rise, President Obama will outline several modest steps this morning to make it easier for the growing ranks of jobless to retrain without losing unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate now stands at 8.9 percent.

In remarks at the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building, Obama will announce that he has instructed the Department of Education to notify colleges that they should adjust federal financial aid packages to reflect a student's current financial circumstances, rather than basing assistance on the previous year's income.

Colleges are allowed to make the adjustments already. But only about 1 percent do so each year for students receiving federal Pell Grants because the upward adjustment often prompts an education department audit. The letter from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis would encourage colleges to make the adjustments without fear of an audit.

Obama has also ordered the Department of Labor to advise state agencies to change rules that eliminate jobless benefits for unemployed people who enroll in school. State agencies often require anyone receiving unemployment benefits to be looking for work full-time in return for the assistance. Obama wants state agencies to grant more leeway to unemployed people who enroll in part-time retraining programs so they can keep their benefits while going to school.

Lastly, Obama has asked all state labor agencies to send letters outlining the array of aid, retraining programs, and other assistance available to anyone receiving unemployment benefits. The federal Departments of Labor and Education have created a Web site -- -- to explain some of these measures.

By Lexie Verdon  |  May 8, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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The President has taken a bold step to address an urgent issue. I can only hope that he will do a "stress test' on some of the state's labor departments. Most are inefficient and do nothing to really help the qualified, in particular.

Many college educated persons are also finding it extremely tough to find a job in this market. Their investment in higher education is not paying off. Job training seem only to be going to those with a high school diploma. What about re-fresher courses/some computer/video/technical training for college graduates who may need additional training to start over... yet again?
Found this link interesting

Posted by: Victoria5 | May 9, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

most states all ready have training for unemployed he isn't doing anything new here its all ready there

Posted by: getsix1 | May 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It is critical that Americans obtain the knowledge and skills for the new jobs that are needed. This means not only university studies but also vocational training for the new technologies. We need an educated and trained workforce to be innovative and to keep pace with the technologically evolving world.

One thing we could learn from the Europeans is a two-track education system -- vocational training with apprenticeships versus university education. Not everyone wants or needs a college education; not everyone is skilled at "hands-on" work.

Also, we could provide the financial support to help people train and/or attend university. In Denmark and Germany they have financial stipends to help people in their pursuit of education and training.

If we did this, we would have a workforce that could compete in a global economy.

It may cost money in the beginning, but the benefits it will pay for the costs involved through increased productivity and the taxes generated through increased income and spending.

Posted by: abby0802 | May 8, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Obama himself needs job training (e.g. only "natural born" citizens are Constitutionally qualified to become President of the United States).

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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