State of the Union Address Includes Programs for Job Seekers

Man in suit holds American flagOn Tuesday evening, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to Congress, outlining messages that are likely to form the foundation for his reelection campaign.

The president’s speech acknowledged that, at a time when unemployment is stubbornly declining from the highest rates experienced in a generation, growing industries in science and technology can’t find workers with the right skills to perform the jobs they need to fill, resulting in twice as many openings as workers who can do the job.

The remark provides context for the administration’s Blueprint for an America Built to Last (PDF) also unveiled on Tuesday evening. The blueprint includes several proposals that aim to help workers to attain the skills they need to fill millions of mid- and high-level skilled positions in industries ranging from healthcare to advanced manufacturing, and clean energy to information technology.

While short on details, such proposals include:

  • Building partnerships between community colleges and business to train and place two million skilled workers
  • Reforming job training and Unemployment Insurance to help put Americans back to work
  • Keeping students in high school
  • Putting veterans to work protecting our communities and preserving our natural resources

“With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow,” he noted, hinting that these proposals may result in legislation as when he unveiled the American Jobs Act last year. He also suggested he would implement many of his plans through executive orders, as done recently through the White House’s We Can’t Wait campaign.

Goodwill® has a long history in helping people find jobs and advance in careers, Last year, Goodwill raised more than $4 billion in its retail operations and other self-sustaining social enterprises, investing more than 84 percent of these revenues to support efforts similar to several proposals outlined in the Blueprint for an America Built to Last. Goodwill’s efforts include enhanced partnerships with community colleges, mentoring programs, and a renewed commitment to hiring and serving more veterans.

As the leading private partner with the workforce system, we look forward to more details about the administration’s new proposals and how these plans will leverage community-based stakeholders like Goodwill.