In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said there is "no quick fix to our economic problems" but "there are certain things we know we can do."
"Now, government is not -- and should not be -- the main engine of job creation in this country," he said. "That's the role of the private sector. But one thing government can do is partner with the private sector to make sure that every worker has the necessary skills for the jobs they're applying for."
Obama announced this week U.S. businesses, colleges and the National Association of Manufacturers had agreed on a program to enable 500,000 community college students to receive a "manufacturing credential that has the industry's stamp of approval."
"If you're a company that's hiring, you'll know that anyone who has this degree has the skills you're looking for," he said. "If you're a student considering community college, you'll know that your diploma will give you a leg up in the job market."
Obama said Saturday he will travel Monday to North Carolina, where he will meet with other administration officials "and talk about additional steps we can take to spur private sector hiring in the short term and ensure our workers have the skills and training they need in this economy."
The president said "more and more jobs are being created in the clean energy sector, so we're investing in wind power, solar power and biofuels that will make us less dependent on foreign oil and clean up our planet for our children."
Obama said such steps "will make a difference in people's lives -- not just 20 years from now, or 10 years from now, but now, and in the months to come."
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