July 30, 2003
INFORMATION: Sue Bozman or John McElwain, (661) 362-3415 or 3494
Bush Stresses Importance of Community Colleges in Economy
During a press conference today President Bush underscored the important role community colleges play in helping fuel the nation's economy by ensuring that the workforce is well-equipped to deal with technological change.
The following is a portion of the official White House transcript of a reporter's question and the president's response:
QUESTION: "Thank you, Mr. President. Staying with that theme, although there are some signs of improvement in the economy, there are sectors in the workforce who feel like they're being left behind. They're concerned about jobs going overseas, that technology is taking over jobs. And these people are finding difficulty finding work. And although you've recommitted yourself to your tax-cut policy, do you have any ideas or any plans within the administration of what you might do for these people who feel like there are fundamental changes happening in the workforce and in the economy?"
PRESIDENT: "Sure. Listen, I fully understand what you're saying. In other words, as technology races through the economy, a lot of times worker skills don't keep up with technological change. And that's a significant issue that we've got to address in the country.
"I think my idea of re-employment accounts makes a lot of sense. In essence, it says that you get $3,000 from the federal government to help you with training, day care, transportation, perhaps moving to another city. And if, within a period of time, you're able to find a job, you keep the balance as a re-employment bonus.
"I know the community colleges provide a very important role in worker training, worker retraining. I look forward to working with our community colleges through the Department of Education, coordinate closely with states, particularly in those states in which technology is changing the nature of the job force.
"I've always found the community college and this is from my days as the governor of Texas found the community college to be a very appropriate place for job-training programs because they're more adaptable, their curriculums are easier to change, they're accessible. Community colleges are all over the place.
"And but you're right. I mean, I think we need to make sure that people get the training necessary to keep up with the nature of the jobs, as jobs change."