Remarks by the First Lady at a Pittsburgh Workforce Hub Event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
[As prepared for delivery.]
Thank you, Secretary Buttigieg. Pete—from holding airlines accountable when they cancel flights, to spearheading infrastructure projects across the country, Joe couldn't have asked for a better partner.
Mayor Gainey, you've put so much heart and hard work into strengthening the workforce in Pittsburgh.
Acting Secretary Su—thank you for your steady leadership of the Department of Labor. You've worked tirelessly to protect our workers and give them the opportunities they need to thrive.
It's wonderful to be joined by your incredible representative, Congressman Deluzio, who never stops fighting for you on Capitol Hill.
And I want to thank everyone who made today possible: County Executive Fitzgerald, Christina Cassotis, and all the labor leaders here.
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.
He understands the middle class because he's from the middle class.
That's why he's strengthening communities like Pittsburgh—fueling a nationwide manufacturing boom and creating new opportunities for hard-working families.
Two years ago, my husband stood in Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, and announced that he planned to make the largest investment in infrastructure since the Interstate Highway. That union workers would be at the heart of this effort. That he would revitalize roads, bridges, schools, and yes, this very airport.
And he's kept that promise.
His leadership has helped transform our economy, with more than 13 million jobs created, unemployment under four percent, and hundreds of billions invested in our infrastructure, including nearly nine billion dollars here in Pennsylvania from his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Today, we're seeing what that looks like in real life.
In May, the White House selected Pittsburgh 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.
Here, that means thousands of jobs strengthening and rebuilding Pennsylvania's infrastructure—including modernizing Pittsburgh's airport, where we're standing right now. But in order to keep this progress going, employers need more skilled workers.
So, the Biden-Harris Administration is working with Mayor Gainey, Partner for Work, colleges, unions, and employers to develop new training pathways to the good careers created by those public and private investments.
And employers and local leaders are expanding access to child care here on-site for pre-apprentices, apprentices, and workers, so they can pursue the careers they want without having to worry about finding care for their kids.
As a community college professor myself, I'm so excited to see how this work changes people's lives. So, last week, I visited Columbus, and earlier today, I traveled to Augusta, to see more of these programs up close.
And I'm going to keep coming back to lift up your progress.
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.
Here in Pittsburgh, students can take college courses in high school, and enroll in pre-apprenticeships, like the one offered here at the airport or through the public high schools.
Those pre-apprenticeships connect to Registered Apprenticeships, and can help apprentices earn credits to an associate degree at the same time!
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.
It's the future of our workforce, and how we build our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.
A job is about more than a paycheck. It's a path—a way to build the lives we want.
And everyone, no matter where they live, deserves the chance to do just that.
Now hopefully, you've been hearing about Bidenomics—Joe's economic vision to rebuild the middle class. The investments and partnerships and pathways I've talked to you about today—they're all a part of Bidenomics working for you to do just that.
When we invest in America, we bring people together and fundamentally transform what it means to make a living and make a life here in our country.
Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at a Pittsburgh Workforce Hub Event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363719