Obama: Every student should have an "aha moment"

President Obama on Monday announced the winners of a new federal grant program designed to make American high schools more competitive in the global economy. With an updated curriculum, Mr. Obama said, students can achieve what he called an "aha moment" -- realizing their education can empower them to be leaders.

"I want to make sure every student in a America has a chance to get that moment, that realization that your education can not just unlock your future, but -- and take you places you never imagined -- but you're also going to be leading this country," Mr. Obama said at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Md.

The school is part of the Prince George's County school system, one of the 24 winners of the Youth CareerGrants.

The grant program, administered by the Department of Education and Department of Labor, is doling out $107 million to local programs that bring together educators and employers to redesign high school curricula. The grants reward programs with a focus on high-demand industries such as science and technology, "work-based" learning, and programs that integrate post-secondary education and training. Bladensburg, for instance, is using its grant money to expand the capacity of its Health & Biosciences Academy.

"We know these are skills that will be in demand," Mr. Obama said. "Companies will come looking to hire you."

The president framed the initiative as part of his "opportunity agenda" that includes improving access to education, creating jobs, helping people build the skills to get those jobs and rewarding work "with things like health care you can count on and wages you can live on."