US President Obama will commend community college-business ties for training workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries, the White House said.
Obama was to travel Wednesday to Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, 30 miles southwest of Cleveland, where job-training programs are helping unemployed workers, the White House said.
He was to hold a roundtable with Job-training students in unemployed-worker programs at 1:55 p.m. EDT, and then deliver remarks at the college at 2:30 p.m., "highlighting his administration's job-training initiatives to help get more Americans back to work and connect unemployed Americans with the skills training needed to find jobs in high-demand, high-growth industries," the White House said.
The remarks were to be closed to the public, but open to students and local elected officials, the White House said.
Obama proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund in February as part of his 2013 budget. Its goal is to train 2 million workers for well-paying jobs in high-demand industries, the White House said.
The fund, which would need congressional approval, would be administered jointly by the departments of Labor and Education. The money would be used to bolster partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers in areas such as healthcare, transportation and advanced manufacturing, the White House said.
Obama called in his State of the Union address for "a national commitment" to help create "an economy built to last" by training 2 million workers "with skills that will lead directly to a job."
When Obama last visited the community college Jan. 22, 2010, as part of his "White House to Main Street Tour," he vowed to keep fighting for job growth and health insurance reforms.
At the time, Ohio's unemployment rate stood at 10.9 percent. The state's latest unemployment rate is 7.6 percent.
The White House called Obama's trip an official visit rather than a campaign appearance.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign bus, loaded up with state surrogates and phone-bank volunteers, was to drive circles around the college while Obama was there, the Romney campaign said.
Romney was considering going to Ohio Thursday to give his own speech about the economy, aides told The Washington Post.
The effort is part of a "bracketing" strategy, in which Romney is to stage "prebuttal" and "rebuttal" speeches to Obama designed to try to force the president on the defensive, the Post said.
"Our campaign is going to go toe-to-toe and post up against the Obama machine every day to help get the message out that Mitt Romney will be able to deliver what this president could not -- and that's a more prosperous America," Romney campaign Communications Director Gail Gitcho told the Post.
The Republican former Massachusetts governor Wednesday was to be in Charlotte, N.C., which hosts the Democratic National Convention the week of Sept. 3.
He booked a rooftop venue near the 73,778-seat Bank of America Stadium -- where Obama is expected to formally accept his party's nomination for re-election -- to deliver a prebuttal to Obama's nomination speech.
Romney's message will boil down to, "Are you better off than you were four years ago, the last time Obama gave a convention speech?" aides told the Post.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith told the Post in an e-mail: "The Romney campaign's strategy is clear: They will go to every end to distort the president's record and policies because they know that voters will not elect Mitt Romney on his own merits."
Obama was to follow his visit to Ohio with two campaign events in the Detroit area.