Remarks by the First Lady at a Pittsburgh Workforce Hub Convening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

November 08, 2023

[As prepared for delivery.]

Acting Secretary Su, Julie, thank you for everything you're doing to make this hub so successful.

First Lady Shapiro, Lori, thank you for taking the time to join us today as we celebrate the amazing things happening in your state.

Mayor Gainey, it's so wonderful to see you again. When I last visited your city, you spoke with so much passion about the possibilities here. And I'm so grateful for your leadership in making those possibilities real.

We have so many incredible partners here today, from colleges and unions, to businesses, and state and local leaders. Thank you all for the heart and hard work you've put into this initiative.

Today, I want to talk to you about the future, and the boundless possibility that now lies ahead of places like Pittsburgh.

But first, I want to bring you back to a moment a few years ago, when my husband took office, and the pandemic was still raging. When jobs here in Pittsburgh seemed to be disappearing every day. When young people were graduating school and struggling to begin their careers.

Back then, when we looked to the future, we only saw uncertainty.

Now, in this incredible space of innovation and renewal, think of how much has changed.

Businesses are growing. Jobs are coming back. Unemployment is at a record low. Buildings are going up. And, young people are on the path to incredible careers.

There's a bright, vibrant future ahead of Allegheny County, a future everyone in this room can be a part of.

In July, I came to Pittsburgh because you are one of a few cities selected as a Workforce Hub by the White House – a model for other communities.

I saw the airport construction – and met the people whose lives were changing because of the jobs there.

Mayor Gainey, do you remember Samantha, the union apprentice, and how proud she was to be a part of building the airport? How excited she was to show her daughter the future that was possible?

Today, I'm back to see the progress you've made in such a short time.

That first class of Partner4Work pre-apprentices that I met earlier this year has graduated. And now the organization will be training new pre-apprentices to build at three other sites in Pittsburgh.

The airport is finally being modernized with the help of IBEW and Carpenters Union workers.

Eos and Re:Build are hiring hundreds to build batteries and satellites, made right here in America.

All because Joe is investing in Pittsburgh.

Joe ran for president on a mission to rebuild the middle class. To work with Democrats and Republicans for communities like this one. To invest in America.

And he's delivered on those promises with historic legislation. So, what does that mean here in Pittsburgh?

It means the state had the money to rebuild the Fern Hollow Bridge in record time, so the Squirrel Hill mom who is taking her son to his baseball game on the other side of Frick Park can use the bridge, instead of having to fight traffic around the park.

It means the city had the resources to replace miles of lead pipes, so kids here can drink clean water.

This city helped build our nation – and the middle class – through good union jobs.

And now, with Joe's vision, you're building the future, and everyone has the opportunity to be a part of it.

In many ways, Pittsburgh has always been a place of transformation – where iron ore turns to steel, and steel to prosperity. And today, you're still transforming – turning an old steel mill into a training center for the jobs of the future.

As you know, Joe grew up across the state in Scranton.

When he was young, his father sat him down and told him the words no one wants to say to their child: "I'm sorry. I can't find work and we can't live here anymore."

He thinks about that moment to this day.

Joe understands the middle class because he's from the middle class. And he knows how a job can change a family's path.

It's why he's fighting for communities like Pittsburgh – for families like his growing up. Maybe families like yours.

So, I want to ask you to keep going, keep pushing, keep innovating – because that's what you do.

And today is only the beginning. I can't wait to see what your next chapter holds.

Thank you.

Now, I'm excited to hear from all of you.

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at a Pittsburgh Workforce Hub Convening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367515

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