Remarks by the First Lady at Columbus' Workforce Hub Launch Convening in Columbus, Ohio
[As prepared for delivery.]
Thank you, Mayor Ginther. Columbus is stronger with your leadership.
Congresswoman Beatty, Joe is lucky to have a partner like you in Congress—and we're grateful for all you do.
And Council President Hardin, thank you for hosting us in this beautiful space. The entire city council, along with the Columbus Workforce Hub partners and other leaders joining us, have done extraordinary work to make the programs we're talking about today possible.
Joe's father used to say: A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity. Joe watched his dad struggle to find good work. He saw how a job could change a family's path. And I saw it too.
My dad came from a family of Italian immigrants. His father delivered furniture for a living. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he was able to get a degree and carve out a good life for my four sisters and me.
Joe understands the middle class because we're from the middle class. And he's working to build the economy from the middle out and the bottom up. He's strengthening communities like Columbus— by fueling a nationwide manufacturing boom and creating new opportunities for hard-working families.
His leadership has helped transform our economy, with more than 13 million jobs created, unemployment under four percent, and billions invested in growing industries like clean energy and engineering. And today, we're seeing what that looks like in real life.
More than 10 years ago when I was Second Lady, then-Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and I kicked off a Community College to Career Bus Tour right here in Columbus. We lifted up investments that were helping community colleges train workers for the skills they need to get jobs that pay well. So it feels fitting to be back here to kick off yet another tour—showing how my husband is investing in America and working in cities like yours to build on that progress.
Today, Columbus is a leader in semiconductor manufacturing, electric vehicles, and biotechnology—with these industries growing every day. But in order to keep this progress going, employers need more skilled workers. So, with support from Joe's Administration, Mayor Ginther, Columbus State Community College, and other leaders here are committing to quadruple the number of students trained for technical jobs.
To help with that effort, the college is working with Intel to launch a new 1-year certificate program. And five local unions have made commitments to expand their Registered Apprenticeship programs and training facilities to meet the growing demand for job training.
In May, the White House selected Columbus as one of five cities in what we are calling the Biden Workforce Hub Initiative. Through this initiative, we're focusing on key cities that have received significant investments from both the federal government and private companies.
And just like here in Columbus, the Biden-Harris Administration is working with local leaders, community colleges, unions, and employers to develop new training pathways to the good careers created by those public and private investments.
As a community college professor myself, I'm so excited to see how this work changes people's lives here in Columbus and in the other hub regions.
So, in the next few weeks, I will visit some of these cities to see their work up close. And then, I'm going to keep coming back to lift up and share your progress. Columbus and these hubs will be invaluable models for others, and I can't wait to shine a light on what's possible when we come together to invest in education and training.
Because for most people, a high school diploma alone isn't enough to find a great career. But that doesn't mean there's only one path to success. Students can take college courses in high school, enroll in Registered Apprenticeships, or earn associate degrees.
The Biden Education pathway starts with free, high-quality, universal preschool and creates a high school experience that prepares students for their next steps. It provides two years of affordable community college and opens up avenues to a four-year degree. Because it's the future of our workforce and how we strengthen the middle class.
Things like unemployment rates and jobs created aren't just numbers. They represent real people—families trying to make a good life. Like Joe's. Like mine. Maybe like yours. They represent that young woman who gets to look at a paycheck from her new job and take a deep breath for the first time in what feels like months. The dad who finally gets to say "OK" with a smile when his son asks for new shoes for school. The small business owner who realizes it's time to start expanding, because her employees have the right skills and training to take on new projects.
A job is about more than a paycheck. It's a path—a way to build the lives we want. And everyone deserves the chance to do just that.
Now hopefully, you've heard and will continue to hear about Bidenomics—Joe's economic vision. Everything that I've talked to you about today is Bidenomics.
My husband ran to rebuild the middle class and that's what he's doing. With his vision to invest in America, we can bring people together and fundamentally transform what it means to make a living and make a life here in America.
Now, I'm looking forward to hearing about the work you are doing to connect people across Columbus to good jobs.
Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at Columbus' Workforce Hub Launch Convening in Columbus, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363733