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White House kicks off push to train more broadband, construction and EV workers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House will launch a summer-long initiative on Friday to encourage labor unions and industry to work together to train more workers for good jobs in the electric vehicle, broadband and construction sectors, senior administration officials said.

The “Talent Pipeline Challenge” will encourage employers and state and local governments to use $800 million in job training funds from the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, they said. Billions more will come from the American Rescue Program rescue package to boost the supply of workers for high-quality jobs.

U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, National Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and other top officials will meet at the White House with executives from telecoms giant AT&T; Bechtel, the largest U.S. construction firm; Germany’s Siemens AG, union leaders and workforce experts to share ideas on how to train more workers for well-paying jobs in those sectors.

The program is modeled on last December’s push to train more truck drivers to ease supply chain logjams.

“This is a nationwide call to action for employers, education and training providers, states, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, and philanthropic organizations to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development” in the three sectors, the White House said.

The initiative comes as the White House seeks to counter growing fears about a possible recession and high inflation, while highlighting employment gains – especially for young people and minority workers – over the past year.

It seeks to promote creation and expansion of apprenticeship and skills certification programs, while encouraging firms, state and local governments to support workers with better access to childcare and transportation.

The Labor Department has also launched a “good jobs” campaign to highlight workers’ rights to collective bargaining and will host its own jobs summit on June 21, followed by another White House workforce event on June 27.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)


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