- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2014

President Obama wrapped up a two-day, four-state tour Thursday by turning his attention to education, another portion of the revamped “opportunity agenda” he’s pledged to undertake without Congress this year.

In a speech at a Nashville high school – with former Vice President Al Gore and actress Ashley Judd in attendance – Mr. Obama repeated his promise to put wireless internet access at every school in America and said more schools should focus on the kind of real-world job training that prepares students for careers in the 21st century.

“We’ve got to reach more kids and we’ve got to do it faster. My attitude is there is no child we should let slip simply because of politics or because adults can’t get their act together,” Mr. Obama said at Nashville’s McGavock High School. “We’ve got to make sure we’re reaching every single one of them as fast as we can and right now we’re not doing that.”

Specifically, the president highlighted McGavock’s system of “academies,” partnerships with local businesses that allow students to pick specialty areas such as aviation, health science, digital design and communication, and others. The goal of those academies is to give students a head start on their career paths.

In his Tuesday State of the Union address and in the following days, Mr. Obama has focused a considerably amount of attention on job training and giving high school graduates the skills they need to secure a job.

Following the address, Mr. Obama headed back to Washington. Other stops on his two-day trip included:

• a tour and speech at the Lanham Costco store, where the president spoke of the need to raise the nation’s minimum wage;

• a tour and address at a suburban Pittsburgh steel mill, where he announced the creation of new government-backed, interest-bearing retirement accounts for American workers;

• a visit to a General Electric facility in Waukesha, Wis., where he lauded the recovering U.S. manufacturing sector and formally gave Vice President Joseph R. Biden the task of reviewing all federal training programs to ensure they’re functioning in an efficient way.