ANNANDALE, Va. – President Bush (search) promised "better days ahead" for young job-hunters on Tuesday and promoted his administration's efforts to train workers for industries that are expanding.
"In this current economy, in spite of slow times, there are industries such as health care and high-technology manufacturing that are looking for well-trained employees," Bush said at a Northern Virginia Community College (search) campus.
"As we expand the number of jobs in our economy, we better make sure that we have retrained people, or trained people to fill those jobs," he said.
Unemployment (search) has climbed steadily during Bush's presidency, hitting a nine-year high of 6.1 percent in May. Bush has sharpened his focus on the economy as he begins raising money for his re-election campaign.
The White House produces backdrops for each of his speeches emblazoned with key words for television viewers, and the word "JOBS" -- all capital letters -- appeared on two banners a total of 16 times.
Bush proposed no new initiatives, but outlined a two-pronged approach: tax cuts that he said will help create jobs by pumping more money into the economy, and an array of proposals to more effectively train workers for jobs in a changing society.
He urged Congress to act on his $3.6 billion proposal for re-employment accounts, to help tide over unemployed workers as they seek new jobs. The plan would give unemployed Americans up to $3,000 for job search expenses and let them keep what's left over if they find work and stay employed.
Bush also asked the Senate to approve a plan to transform what the administration views as bureaucratic, ineffective job-training programs into targeted, flexible funding to meet specific needs of communities and employers.
The House passed such a bill last month, but Democrats were concerned because religious groups that receive federal funds to provide job-training services could refuse to hire workers with different beliefs.
Bush said he wanted to tell students at the campus auditorium "there are better days ahead when it comes for finding work."