By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
5:00 AM PDT, June 8, 2011
President Obama will visit a local community college Wednesday to talk about the need to train American workers for global manufacturing jobs as he grapples with troubling employment numbers and simmering concern about his economic policy.
Obama will announce the expansion of an initiative to improve cooperation between the private sector and community colleges, part of a larger White House plan to promote workforce development and job placement.
The message is not a new one for the president, but he is renewing his emphasis on it when Americans are worried about a slowdown in job growth and the possibility that the economy could be headed into a second recession.
Private-sector job growth slowed in May, reviving fears of a double-dip recession. And although Obama said Tuesday that he isn’t worried about that prospect, administration officials acknowledged concern about the slowdown and the possibility that it could be part of a trend.
Meanwhile, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll suggests the public may be starting to blame Obama for some of the country's economic troubles. Asked who they trust to do a better job on the economy, the newspaper reported, 45% said congressional Republicans.
With some 2.7 million manufacturing workers set to retire in the next 15 years, Obama's economic advisors point to opportunities in that sector of the economy.
“There’s a huge opportunity to grow our manufacturing economy,” said Ron Bloom, an economic advisor to the president. “A significant percentage of all things we export are manufactured goods,” he said, “and the demand for these goods is enormous throughout the world."
During a morning visit to Northern Virginia Community College, Obama will announce several new partnerships that aides say will train workers to fill new jobs and those being vacated by retirees, according to administration officials.
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