Tags: Barack Obama | obama | jobs | kentucky | budget

Obama Touts Job Program in Kentucky to Hit Republicans on Budget

Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 05:12 PM

President Barack Obama, after hailing a "historic" deal with Iran, turned back to domestic issues by taking aim at Republican tax and budget priorities as he makes the case for investing more money in worker training.

After delivering remarks Thursday at the White House on a framework understanding with Iran on its nuclear program, Obama left Washington for Louisville, Kentucky, one of about 20 cities that signed on to his TechHire initiative.

The program, announced last month, is designed to connect workers with higher-paying positions in the technology field. In announcing the program and visiting Louisville —- where he will tour a local technology firm -- Obama is seeking to emphasize that technology skills provide jobs in regions across the U.S., not just in major hubs.

"We tend to think that all these tech jobs are in Silicon Valley, at companies like Google and EBay," Obama said as he announced the initiative March 9 in Washington. "The truth is, two-thirds of these jobs are in non-high-tech industries like health care, or manufacturing, or banking, which means they're in every corner of the country."

Obama during the trip will highlight his budget proposal -- which increases funding for job training -- and will draw contrasts to the Republican plan, which cuts domestic spending, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. It's a theme Obama has pressed in recent weeks in visits to mostly Republican states, including Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. He will give a speech in Utah on Friday.

Model Program

A city of Louisville program that became a model for TechHire, called Code Louisville, uses tax dollars to fund technology training and job placement services. Participants in the program receive free course in computer coding. The 12-week courses help residents build a portfolio they can use to show their skills to potential employers.

Obama will tour Indatus, a downtown Louisville software firm which has participated in Code Louisville. The Obama administration's push for more technology hiring has highlighted the higher wages in the field, and the availability of jobs for skilled workers who don't have four-year degrees.

Adam Enbar, co-founder of the Flatiron School, which provides free computer training in New York, worked with the White House to create the TechHire Initiative. He said Obama's trip to Kentucky shows how technology jobs have grown across regions and sectors.

'Every Industry'

"It could be any city in between San Francisco and New York," he said. "There's a realization that what we used to call the tech industry is now every industry."

Government employment data released this year showed that while the U.S. is adding positions at the fastest pace since the 1990s, wages have failed to match that growth, falling short of analysts' expectations.

The White House said it has secured commitments from more than 300 companies and local governments in more than 20 regions to participate in TechHire. Companies including Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. have agreed to provide free technology training to low-income residents. Cities including St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City have agreed to participate in the initiative.

Obama will also hit Republicans over their spending proposals while visiting Kentucky and Utah, states he lost to his Republican challengers in the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Republican Budget

The Republican budget plan, unveiled last month, would cut more than $5 trillion in government spending. It repeals Obama's signature health-care law and includes cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicaid. Republicans have said it would result in a balanced budget within the next decade without raising taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is traveling during Congress's two-week recess and will not be in Louisville for the president's visit.

During debate on the Senate budget last week, McConnell said the plan "will make government more efficient, more effective and more accountable to the middle class."

Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said Thursday the Republican budget plans don't include cutting job training programs and he blamed budget limits signed into law by Obama for shorting those initiatives.

"The president signed the budget caps into law, and rather than finding smart ways to trim the fat in Washington to meet that pledge, he has apparently decided he would cut jobs- training programs to maintain the caps," Stewart said.

The White House has spent weeks making the case that the Republican budget would hurt middle-income Americans.

'Stark Contrast'

"The president is looking forward to the opportunity to draw a pretty stark contrast between his middle-class economics approach to expanding opportunity for everybody, and the approach advocated by Republicans, which essentially is a top- down approach," Earnest said Wednesday.

Obama will also criticize Republicans for their plan to eliminate the estate tax, which would benefit only the wealthy, he said.

Republicans in the House are set to vote to eliminate the tax during the week of April 13, after Congress returns from a spring recess. The repeal would add about $269 billion to the federal budget deficit in fiscal years 2016-2025, according to an estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

 

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President Barack Obama, after hailing a historic deal with Iran, turned back to domestic issues by taking aim at Republican tax and budget priorities as he makes the case for investing more money in worker training.
obama, jobs, kentucky, budget
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2015-12-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 05:12 PM
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