Obama to Offer $100 Million Job Skills Education Plan

President Barack Obama plans to announce a $100 million competitive grants program to help equip high school students with skills needed to compete for jobs in a global economy increasingly reliant on technology.

The program, called Youth CareerConnect, would award as many as 40 grants ranging from $2 million to $7 million each in the 2014-2015 academic year to schools that link up with higher educational institutions or employers, according to a White House fact sheet.

The goal is to motivate high schools to innovate and restructure parts of their curriculum focusing on increasing students’ employment chances in business or industry as a way to boost U.S. economic growth. Grant money will come from the Labor Department, according to the fact sheet.

The program was disclosed earlier by the Wall Street Journal, which said the president would make the announcement later today at an event the news organization is sponsoring in Washington.

Not every student has to go to a four-year college, Obama said at a steel plant in Cleveland on Nov. 14. “You’ve got to have a little bit of advanced training,” he said, and it may “come through a community college or it may come through a technical school.”

Obama said last month at a Brooklyn, New York, high school that other nations are pulling ahead of the U.S. in global economic competition. He said education in science, technology, engineering and math can be a foundation for growth.

The Brooklyn school, known as P-Tech, was cited by Obama in his State of the Union address earlier this year. He called it an example of collaboration between schools and private industry to equip students with skills needed by companies.

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