Obama to Congress: After Extending Cap on Stafford, Next Step is to Expand Student Aid [VIDEO]
President Obama discusses legislation he signed Friday that does two important things: it keeps thousand of construction workers on the job rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and it stops interest rates on federal loans from doubling this year for more than seven million students.
Just days after signing in legislation to prevent Stafford interest rates from doubling to 6.8 percent for 7.4 million students and their families, President Barack Obama advocated to expand financial aid to millions more to help young people enter the labor market, in his weekly address.
“I’ve been asking [Congress] to help us give two million Americans the opportunity to learn the skills that businesses in their area are looking for right now through partnerships between community colleges and employers,” said Obama, referring to his College to Career funding proposal.
Obama advocated for investing in higher education, calling higher education “an economic necessity that every American family should be able to afford.” To bolster the economy, Obama argued that businesses need students to have some post-high school training and education—even if that doesn’t mean a traditional four-year university education—in order for them to be effective employees and remain competitive in the global economy.
One of the major challenges in the wake of the economic crisis is putting young people and the long-term unemployed to work; both of these groups often need training to be competitive in the labor market. Training for workers and young people has been a refrain for the Obama administration. The American Jobs Act, proposed by Obama in 2011, would have expanded training and job opportunities to young people, and would have provided a tax credit for hiring long-term unemployed workers—both of these measures would have allowed those seeking jobs to be better matched with employers.
The American Jobs Act was filibustered in the Senate and prevented from coming to the floor for a vote.
In the wake of this filibuster, President Obama has tried to find other ways to fix the mismatches in the labor market, like expanding financial aid to those who seek additional education and training
Eric Murphy is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.
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