America has always been a resilient country, but some believe that its reign as a superpower is coming to an end unless it can solve its education crisis. The Obama Administration believes it can solve this crisis by putting more money into advancing technology training for adults.
While other initiatives are aimed at elementary and grade schools, the Obama Administration will provide $100 million, specifically, to employers, training institutions, and local governments that are targeting low-skilled workers who don’t have access to training or educational platforms.
They money is set to come from fees generated by the H-1B visa program – a program that companies pay fees for to hire foreign workers.
Commitment Is High
So far, Obama has obtained commitments from over 300 employers and 20 local governments. The program’s official name is TechHire and is designed to prepare workers for a growing trend in technology.
Estimates by the White House put the target at 5 million jobs available today, with more than half a million in fields like cybersecurity, software development, and network administration. The sudden attention to technology comes on the back of promising unemployment numbers and yet a lack of wage growth.
Programs, like the ITIL Foundation Certification Training, from Simplilearn, could help individuals acquire the kinds of skills they need for these types of jobs. Wages haven’t risen substantially over the last few years. Research suggests that high-tech jobs pay 50 percent more than low-tech jobs, so these types of training programs are desperately needed and welcomed. That’s significant, considering average hourly wages come in at just $24.78 per hour.
Along with employers and local governments, the administration wants universities and community colleges to provide training. But, instead of the traditional education model, it wants higher education to rely on high-tech educational academies that have entered into agreements with cities to train workers within months and then help with job placement.
Everything is, of course, verified by independent studies to confirm the rate of job placements. Under the federal plan, the government provides federal assistance to leverage training for these workers.
What Can Worker’s Expect?
Asking for guarantees from politicians can be tough, and nailing them down on a specific stance is like nailing jello to a wall. At the same time, the White House seems to be committed to its $100 million spending promise and to working with businesses and local governments to make it happen.
House republicans oppose these efforts, however, because they claim that it’s not fully paid for. The legislation referred to by Obama in the education deal allegedly includes specific offsets to close corporate tax loopholes and increases taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
But, Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman said that the White House’s proposed deal left much to be desired. The tax increase, according to republicans, puts more pressure on businesses, and increases taxes for everyone, ultimately, since employers tend to offset higher taxes with lower wages.
Boehner released a statement immediately after Obama’s, promising to consider the proposal. However, he also criticized the president over his 2009 economic stimulus plan which was backed by the administration.
Among the proposed tax cuts Obama wants instituted adds to the $112 billion cut so far which allows employees to pay just 4.2 percent, instead of 6.2 percent, of the first $106,800 in wages to Social Security.
The president also wants to cut the payroll tax for employers to 3.1 percent on the first $5 million in wages.
Obama also wants to extend unemployment benefits to help people get back to work.
To many, this looks like another stimulus bill, but this time more targeted to a specific sector of the economy. If it works, it will be one of the largest stimuluses to the tech industry ever conceived. And, it will introduce a flood of candidates to the sector.
Is the sector ready? How far can technology grow? For supporters of the president, the sky is the limit. Technology seems to have no inherent growth ceiling. But, for critics, there is a limit and the Obama administration may already be hitting it.
The Congress has until November 23rd to approve $1.5 trillion in new deficit reduction options, so they can’t sit on their hands for much longer. This should be encouraging to many Americans, who have either been out of a job for more than a year, or have been under-employed since the recession began in 2008.
Chandana is a Senior Content Writer for Simplilearn.com. She has a M.A. in English Literature from Gauhati University and is PRINCE2 Foundation certified. Her unique and refreshing writing style continues to educate and inspire readers from around the world.