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Obama to expand manufacturing job training

A worker welds the door of a SUV's dismantled chassis to armour-plate the vehicle.

BOB MOON: President Obama visits Northern Virginia Community College just outside Washington today. He's set to announce an expanded job training program aimed at boosting manufacturing.

Our education Correspondent Amy Scott is with us live from WYPR in Baltimore. Amy, why talk about growing manufacturing jobs at a school -- a community college?

AMY SCOTT: Well because that's where a lot of vocational training takes place. But critics say that students often spend a lot of time and money on job training and then find that they can't get a job. So the White House is teaming up with manufacturers and community colleges to create a new standardized credentialing system so that someone who studies, I don't know, welding in Virginia can take that credential to an employer in say, North Carolina.

I spoke earlier with Thomas Bailey with the Community College Research Center at Teachers College. He says community colleges typically have good relationships with local employers.

THOMAS BAILEY: So if you have an institution that provides credentials that don't take a long time and at a reasonable cost to the student, at least, then I think those are certainly attractive sites to begin that type of an effort.

MOON: But Amy, we hear all the time that American manufacturing has been on a slow decline, so, are there going to be enough jobs?

SCOTT: Right, well manufacturing has led the economic recovery with more than 230,000 new jobs in the last year and a half. That's of course, a fraction of the jobs lost in the recession. But the White House also points out that there are more than two million older manufacturing workers likely to retire in the next ten years, so we'll need new workers to take their jobs.

MOON: Marketplace's Amy Scott, thanks.

SCOTT: You're welcome.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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