During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama made a five-part promise broadly addressing worker retraining.
The administration, he said, "will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, and increase resources for community colleges and lifelong learning initiatives to ensure our citizens can continue to gain new skills throughout their lifetimes. ... Will also modernize and expand the existing system of trade adjustment assistance to include workers hurt by changing trade patterns. They will also create flexible education accounts that workers can use to retrain. And they will expand and fully fund apprenticeship programs to help workers get credentials and skills in crafts that reward that investment with a middle class income and benefits."
If we were rating the first part separately, we'd call it Stalled. The Workforce Investment Act, which passed in 1998 and guides federal worker-training programs, has been up for reauthorization for several years but has not advanced beyond the hearing stage. No comprehensive reauthorization bill has been introduced in either chamber.
The second part -- increasing resources for community colleges -- would be a Promise Kept. The economic stimulus bill passed in February 2009 included $90 million for 2009 and 2010 for a Community College and Career Training Grant Program, with grants awarded for projects that "improve educational or career training programs." More funds for this purpose could be on the way. A separate bill -- the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3221) -- passed the House on Sept. 17, 2009, and now awaits action by the Senate. It authorizes an even larger sum of grant money for community colleges -- $730 million for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2013, and $680 million for each of the fiscal years 2014 through 2019.
The third part, on Trade Adjustment Assistance, also rates the designation Promise Kept. Extensive provisions to modify TAA -- which aids workers hit by job losses caused by foreign competition -- were included in the stimulus bill.
The fourth part, on flexible education accounts, appears to be Stalled. We could find no mention of it on the Whitehouse.gov or in a Google search.
Finally, on apprenticeships, the stimulus bill has been funding some apprenticeship programs, such as $3 million for apprenticeships on work to repair federal buildings, but it's not clear that these qualify as "full funding," in the administration's words. We'd rate this part In the Works.
All told, this grab-bag of promises earns a collective rating of In the Works.