Obama Announces Job Training, Community College Initiatives During Michigan Visit

Macomb Community College gives two years tuition free under Obama’s new initiatives to boost job training.

President Obama was in Michigan on Wednesday to roll out new initiatives meant to boost job training and community college enrollment.

The president chose Macomb Community College in Warren to make the announcement. It’s where in 2009 he first unveiled his plan to make two years of community college free. The proposal has gone nowhere in Congress since then.

Now Obama is doubling down on that promise.

“This is a concrete way to reduce the cost of higher education for young people, to improve the skills of workers so they get higher paying jobs, to grow our economy – it shouldn’t be controversial,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

“Whether it is a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, a journeyman’s card from an apprenticeship program, having a credential above and beyond your high school diploma, that’s the surest ticket to the middle class. And in global competition for jobs and industries, having the best educated workforce in the world is the surest way for America to stay on top.”

Obama will create a board chaired by Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden to promote the initiative. Biden was with the president on the visit to Michigan, along with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The president also announced $175 million in grants for apprenticeship programs.

Gov. Rick Snyder has also sought to highlight Michigan’s economic turnaround by focusing on boosting skilled trades, apprenticeships, and community colleges. Both have said job growth – especially in the automotive industry – has created a need for worker training and retraining programs.


  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.