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Obama seeks to boost training for high-tech jobs

President Obama speaks during a town hall event at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, March 6, 2015.

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama will announce a 20-city drive to intensify job-specific training in the high-tech sector in a speech before the annual League of Cities conference in Washington Monday.

Sources inside and outside of the White House confirm the approach is designed to be the one of the biggest federal-city efforts boosting non-college skills training in history. It is in addition to existing administration efforts to increase access to four-year colleges, through more student aide, and two-year community colleges, through subsidized tuition.

Obama will announce commitments from 20 cities - among them New York, San Francisco, Louisville, St. Louis and Detroit - as well as emerging training companies/academies and big-name high tech firms to train and place ‎graduates.

The goal is to place 50,000 graduates into high-paying jobs. The White House has not announced a deadline to meet the goal.

‎Those familiar with the initiative, which has been in development for more than a year, say it seeks to harness the potential of skills-specific job academies that train students for high-tech jobs in as little as three months. The concept behind the academies to is to sell prospective employers on an applicant's merit instead of his or her academic pedigree.

Theses centers, part of a for-profit desire to meet the needs of firms hungry for software developers and other technology workers, require students to attend all-day classes five days a week ‎to immerse themselves in a specific set of skills.

The White House has gathered commitments from several academies to train students in cooperation with the cities in which they operate and submit to regular outside audits to verify job placement success. The cities will also announce financial support that the federal government will augment. Specifics on federal financial support were unavailable.

‎According to administration figures, roughly five million jobs remain unfilled and a sizable number of vacancies are linked to the so-called "skill gap" that means applicants do not possess the specific skills required. The administration asserts that up to 500,000 job openings are in the fields of software development, cybersecurity and network administration, fields with salaries up to 50 percent higher than average full-time work.

"Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the president's middle-class economic agenda," Deputy White House Press Secretary Jen Friedman told CBS News.