§ Expanding Apprenticeships by Mobilizing Business, Community Colleges and Labor. On-the-job apprenticeship training programs provide a robust path to middle income jobs in many countries. Other economies that we are competing with, like Germany, have millions of apprenticeships leading to skilled jobs, but today there are only about 420,000 registered apprenticeships in the U.S. This year the President will mobilize leaders from business, labor, community colleges and other training providers to boost the number of apprenticeships in this country and expand these “learn and earn” strategies to other cutting edge fields.
• Cutting Red Tape for Infrastructure Investment. In order to accelerate economic growth, the President is taking action to improve the efficiency of the Federal permitting process, cutting through red tape and getting more timely decisions on Federal permits and reviews, while ensuring that projects that are approved lead to better outcomes for our communities and the environment. In August 2011 the President issued a Presidential Memorandum to add more transparency, accountability, and certainty into the permitting and review process. Since then, agencies have worked to expedite the permitting and review of 52 major projects, and have already completed the review of 32 projects including bridges, railways, ports and waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects. Federal agencies have also completed a comprehensive review to identify best practices, such as having multiple agencies review a project at the same time instead of consecutively. In the coming weeks, the President will publish a plan to institutionalize these best practices.
• Increasing Fuel Efficiency for Trucks and Saving Families Money. The President will propose new incentives for medium- and heavy-duty trucks to run on natural gas or other alternative fuels and the infrastructure needed to run them. This builds on efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT), as part of the Climate Action Plan, to develop additional fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which will drive sustained fuel economy improvements for trucks and buses and adoption of alternative fuels. Already, private sector investments are building natural gas, biofuel, and other advanced fueling infrastructure across the United States just as research is making these technologies more economically and environmentally effective. The President is committed to accelerating adoption of these advanced homegrown, alternative fuels that benefit our planet, our economy, and our energy security.
• Partnering with States, Cities and Tribes to Move to Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Power. As part of the Climate Action Plan, the President directed his Administration to work with States to develop clean energy and energy efficiency policies. Already, 10 States have market-based systems to reduce carbon pollution; more than 35 States have renewable energy targets that are a magnet for clean energy investment in technologies like wind, solar, hydropower, coal with carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and geothermal; and over 25 States have state-wide programs to cut energy waste. Building on this progress, the Environmental Protection Agency is working with states, utilities and others to develop new carbon pollution standards for power plants. In addition, last month the President announced a commitment of more than $1 billion in energy savings performance contracts by nine States and several cities across the country – another example of State and local governments deploying smart policies to drive investment and create jobs as part of a clean energy economy.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.