Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by First Lady Jill Biden at the Biden-Harris Administration’s Launch of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Thank you, Secretary Raimondo—and Secretary Walsh, thank you both for your leadership.
Tuesday was my first day back at school getting ready for the semester to start—but like most teachers, I’ve been preparing for a few weeks now. I spent my COVID recovery time reading articles and thinking about how to inspire and engage my students.
And it’s got me thinking of someone I taught a few years ago—an automotive tech student named Harry. I was talking about something in class one day—and feeling very passionate about it. Maybe the importance of literature or the written word—when Harry raised his hand.
“Dr. B,” he said, “the only thing I need to learn how to write is ‘needs brakes.’”
He was joking, of course. But he had a point, too: He wasn’t just there to learn the art of writing—he was there to prepare himself for a career.
Community colleges have always been about jobs—about meeting students where they are and giving them the skills they need to build careers and support their families.
They are committed to helping students no matter their income or background, so they’ve been a leader when it comes to creating innovative learning opportunities—like apprenticeships. And there is potential for them to do even more in this area. That’s why I’m so excited to join this group today.
Registered Apprenticeships provide clear pathways to jobs that pay good wages. They allow students to earn while they learn. And they ensure businesses have skilled employees in industries that are struggling to find the right workers.
Joe made a promise to rebuild our middle class. It’s why he ran and it’s the North star that has guided his agenda. And do you know what builds the middle class?
Apprenticeships. Community colleges. Education and training. Together, they are our most powerful engines of prosperity.
That’s why Joe made these opportunities key to so many parts of his legislative agenda—his rescue plan, the infrastructure law, and the Inflation Reduction Act.
I’ve already seen these efforts working at community colleges and Fortune 500 companies alike. I’ve met parents who were able to start new careers because they could get paid while they learn. I’ve met young students who are filling critical nursing roles while they train for their dream job.
Apprenticeships can change lives. They strengthen our workforce and our economy.
So, I want to thank everyone who has joined the Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative and made commitments to expand these kinds of opportunities. And I want to call on others to follow your lead and create more career pathways in your communities.
I’m so proud of all that Joe has done to support Americans like my students. And I’m proud to be a part of the college community that has stepped up and become leaders.
Together, we can not only rebuild the middle class. We can give working families the chance to find great careers and create a better and brighter future for us all.