The President spent this morning with some of those hit hardest by the economic downturn - GM plant workers in Ohio. In a roundtable with a handful of employees, he praised them for the training and skill they had acquired to do their jobs, and restated his pledge to make that kind of education and training available to the next generation, both for the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow.
President Barack Obama meets with workers during his visit to the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant in Warren, Ohio, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Because of the steps we've taken, this plant is about to shift into high gear. (Applause.) A hundred and fifty of your coworkers came back to work yesterday. (Applause.) More than 1,000 will be coming back to work in less than three weeks as production of the Cobalt ramps up. (Applause.) That's worth standing for. (Applause.) And next year, this plant will begin production of the Chevy Cruze -- (applause) -- a new car that will get more than 40 miles per gallon. I just sat in the car. I asked for the keys, they wouldn't give me the keys. (Laughter.) I was going -- I was going to take it for a little spin. (Laughter.) But it was nice sitting in there. It was a roomy car -- 40 miles per gallon.
So if you picked up a copy of the Youngstown Vindicator back in January, you would have seen a headline that read: "Worries mount in wake of layoffs." A couple weeks ago, you would have read a different story: "Good news at Lordstown is good news for all." And today, you made, by the way, some more good news: I understand that the one-millionth Cobalt rolled off the assembly line late last night. (Applause.)
>So I don't want to just congratulate you, I want to thank you. You're doing your part to move us forward and make sure that the high-quality, well-engineered, safe and fuel-efficient cars of the future will be built where they've always have been built -- right here in Ohio, right across the Midwest, right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Calling upon workers to maintain a fighting spirit, President Obama thanked Ohio residents for their perseverance and assured that more hope is on the way:
Now, we've still got a long way to go. But there is little debate that the decisions we've made and the steps we've taken helped stop our economic freefall. In some places, they've helped us turn the corner. Home sales are up; business investment is starting to stabilize. For the first time in 18 months, we're actually seeing growth in American manufacturing, instead of decline. (Applause.)
I know that's small consolation when so many people you know are still out of work. It's going to take some time to achieve a complete recovery. But I want you all to know, I will not rest until anybody who's looking for a job can find one -- and I'm not talking about just any job, but good jobs that give every American decent wages and decent benefits and a fair shot at the American Dream. (Applause.) That's what I'm fighting for every single day. (Applause.)