State of the Union Address Calls for More Job Training
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama called for an “across- the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.” 

The good news, according to President Obama, is that “We know how to do it.” Case in point: Detroit Manufacturing Systems. The presidential address detailed its story: “Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make those parts. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center; places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or a better job. She was flooded with new workers, and today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees. And what Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer and every job seeker.”

The President tasked Vice President Biden with leading the reform: “That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs.”


To support these efforts, the President asked Congress to “concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.”

And the President is taking his State of the Union message on the road this week. On Thursday, January 30, 2014, he will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to discuss his administration’s proposals for improving job training opportunities for workers, and to Nashville, Tennessee to highlight success at a local high school.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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