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Pres. Obama Turns To LA To Train Future Tech Workers

Pres. Obama announced a new initiave, which looks to train Americans with the skills they need to work in the tech industry, and Los Angeles is one of the key players in the plan. ATVN's Eric Ruble reports. 

Los Angeles is one of more than 20 cities receiving federal funding to boost the number of jobs in the technology sector. According to the White House, there are nearly half a million open positions in tech, but not nearly enough skilled workers to take them. 

The proposal, dubbed "Tech Hire," will work with high schools, colleges and companies around the country to bridge the gap between unemployed young people and hiring tech companies.

"There's an increasingly rapid pace of technological development. The gaps are only becoming larger between what's needed and what's available. And I think there are lots of people out there who are eager to move into jobs in fields like this," said Corrine Hyde, a professor at USC's Rossier School of Education.

Students on the campus of Santa Monica College -- one of the schools receiving funds -- expressed excitement for the initiative. 

"I think that it's really good idea. Especially because it's so competitive, jobs are limited. So all the help that we can get to provide those job opportunities to students is really beneficial," said journalism major Jessica Vasquez.

Others were more speculative about the feasibility of the program.

"It could work if it's used correctly. But at the same time, if it's not, who knows who it will benefit or not benefit," said student Miyoshie Lewis. 

Tech Hire will also help high school students looking to enroll in college technology courses before graduating. This already exists at SMC through a program called LA HI-TECH.

"We started with juniors and seniors in high school, where students are getting college credit for taking the courses at their high school that we've initiated there," said Frank Dawson, a professor of media studies at SMC and a leading member of HI-TECH.

"The tech hire announcement really focuses on the need to address the nearly half million jobs in technology that are not being addressed because the students do not have the skills to fill that gap," said Dawson.

The White House hopes this program will help bolster the middle class, as high-tech jobs pay 50 percent more than the average private sector position. 

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