POLITICS

Obama To Announce Training Initiative For High-Tech Jobs

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday will announce a program to provide more Americans with the training needed to secure jobs in the high-technology industry, the White House said.

The initiative, which Obama will detail at a National League of Cities conference in Washington, will include "collaboration with local government leaders - working with each other and with national employers - that are committed to expanding access to tech jobs in their communities," the White House statement said on Sunday.

The statement added there were more than 500,000 job openings in such fields as software development and cybersecurity and that the average salary in jobs requiring information technology skills was 50 percent higher than the average private-sector job in the United States.

"Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the President's middle-class economics agenda," the White House statement said.

The Obama administration has been promoting its efforts to boost the middle class and increase opportunity as the economy grows and unemployment falls.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 295,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, as the U.S. unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.5 percent in February, the lowest level since May 2008. (Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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