National / International News

Government targets $1 billion for job training

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:47

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has announced $150 million in new funding for states to develop and expand job-training programs. Since January 2014, a total of $1 billion in federal spending has been targeted to workforce development and employment opportunities for people suffering the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

The money is authorized under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. States can apply for the newly released money to help fund apprenticeships, on-the-job training, partnerships with employers, and industry certification programs. The overall goal, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, is to train people—especially the long-term unemployed—in industries where there is now increasing demand for skilled labor.

As manufacturing picks up and Baby Boomers retire from middle-class blue-collar jobs, there’s plenty of need for additional workers, said machine-tool instructor Keith Knight at Mount Hood Community College near Portland, Oregon.

“As far as industries looking for these jobs—Boeing, Oregon Iron Works, the majority of industries—they’re starting to see more and more work showing up,” said Knight. The community college’s programs for machine-tool operator, automotive technician, and welder all fill up quickly, and many students are able to line up jobs before they graduate, instructors said.

Knight said job training can help someone with only a high school diploma, or a two-year associate’s degree, land a higher-skilled or better-paying job.

That’s what attracted Andrew Stevens, 27, to the community college program. “This is 'Plan F,'” said Stevens ,as he sat at his workbench disassembling and rebuilding a Chrysler transmission in the bright, clean automotive classroom. “I’ve done many things—from guiding fishing in Alaska, to laying ceramic tile—which is no fun—to being a prosthetics technician—I made fake arms and legs. I was pretty much at the top of my pay scale, making as much as I was going to make, and decided that wasn’t enough.”

Stevens’ instructor, Steve Michner, said auto technicians can ultimately earn $45,000 to $55,000 per year.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, said job-training programs can help individual workers boost their earnings and job opportunities, and they can help companies fill positions that require specific skills. But they can’t necessarily address high local or regional unemployment—for instance, in old industrial cities or depressed urban areas.

“The fancy term is ‘spatial mismatch’—people live in the wrong part of the country from where the jobs are,” explained Van Horn. “There might be lots of jobs in Southeastern Louisiana. But the people who used to work in the construction industry in New Jersey either can’t, or don’t want to, move there. Or, go to the Dakotas, which is another place that’s booming.”

Van Horn pointed out that sometimes the spatial mismatch is hyper-local. Some neighborhoods in New Orleans, for instance, have high poverty and unemployment, even though oil refineries and chemical plants may need skilled workers just a couple hours away.

Many economists say skills training is important at this point in the economic recovery, so employers can fill jobs in regions and industrial sectors that are growing strongly. But also, employers need to generate more jobs overall, in more places, to pick up the slack in the labor market nationwide.

Top Azerbaijan activist detained

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:41
Azerbaijan's most prominent human rights defender, Leyla Yunus, has been detained with her husband while trying to leave the country.

Officer cleared of Taser assault

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:39
A police officer who used a Taser stun gun on a naked man who threw his underpants at him is found not guilty of assault.

Appeal after tumours dog put down

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:34
The RSPCA is appealing for information after a dog found to have painful cancerous tumours and left tied to some railings in Oxford, has to be put down.

Seized Nigerian girls 'taken abroad'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:19
Some of the schoolgirls abducted by suspected militant Islamists in northern Nigeria are believed to have been taken to neighbouring states, a local leader tells the BBC.

North Korea Conducts Artillery Drills Near Southern Border

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:19

The exercises, while not uncommon, are considered provocative in the immediate wake of President Obama's visit to South Korea.

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Wimbledon losers' prize money boost

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:03
Prize money for players who lose in the first three rounds at this year's Wimbledon rises by over 100% over a three-year period.

Day in pictures: 29 April 2014

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 05:01
News photos from past 24 hours: 29 April

UK banks face housing 'stress test'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:45
Eight UK banks and building societies will face so-called stress tests, to assess their resilience to an economic downturn, the Bank of England announces.

AUDIO: Mum of SEN kids explains 21-hour day

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:45
A mother who has three children with special educational needs shares her audio diary of a typical morning.

Putin hugs German ex-chancellor

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:33
Germany's ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder gets a controversial birthday hug from President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg.

Several Wounded In Shooting At FedEx Facility In Georgia

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:28

Police say at least six people were hurt in an incident early Tuesday at the facility in Kennesaw, Ga. The shooter is reportedly dead.

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EU Follows U.S. In Imposing New Sanctions On Russia

NPR News - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:24

The sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle" drew a response from Moscow, which described them in Cold War terms.

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Drugs found in 'Kinder Egg inserts'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:19
Crack cocaine and heroin hidden inside "Kinder Egg plastic inserts" are found by police on a Manchester street.

VIDEO: 'I'm in remission, thank god'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 04:17
Parminder Sangha believes her positive attitude helped her overcome a brain tumour that could have killed her.

Heartbleed used against net thieves

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:53
The Heartbleed bug is being used to grab information from closed chatrooms where cyber thieves gather to trade data.

Bank outlines economic doomsday scenario

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:49
Bank outlines economic doomsday scenario

Report: BBC News 'can feel distant'

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:47
A review of the BBC's news output finds it to be "trusted and highly regarded by audiences" but suggests some viewers can find it "distant".

Cech & Terry return to training

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:45
Chelsea's Petr Cech and John Terry train ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.

VIDEO: House of Commons

BBC - Tue, 2014-04-29 03:41
The chancellor hails GDP growth figures but says the recovery cannot be taken for granted.

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