Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by First Lady Jill Biden at Ivy Tech Community College
Thank you, Lane, for that introduction and for sharing your story with us.
Mayor Murphy, Congressman Mrvan, and Jane, your commitment to programs like this one is so important, and we’re grateful for your leadership.
Good afternoon, it’s great to be back at Ivy Tech. I know it’s exam week, so I’m grateful that so many of you have chosen to spend your study break time here! Thank you to Dr. Ellspermann and all of you for welcoming us today.
Two years ago, my husband, President Biden, made a promise to rebuild the middle class. And you know what does exactly that? Community colleges. As Joe has said, they provide the “best career training in America.”
Community colleges are flexible and meet students where they are. And they offer programs tailored to the communities that they serve. A high school education just isn’t enough for so many of the jobs of the 21st century. But there are great careers out there that can be found with associate degrees, certificates, or other job training—paths that don’t require four years of college.
Today, I had the opportunity to see the Flex Lab where students are training for careers in clean energy. They are building solar power systems and being trained to operate wind turbines. They’re learning to wire homes and fix downed power lines. This program is giving them good paying jobs and protecting the planet for the next generation.
I also met Sandy, the first woman to graduate with her Technical Certificate in Electric Line Technology. She enrolled at the college at age 45 and, thanks to the certification she received here, she’s been working at NIPSCO for 12 years.
Sandy, it’s amazing to see you forging this incredible career for yourself. You’re what this is all about—and why we’re here today.
Dual enrollment courses, Registered Apprenticeships, community colleges partnering with businesses to train workers in growing industries. These aren’t Democrat or Republican ideas. They’re American ideas championed by leaders from both parties. And for many years, they’ve helped students from all communities—red and blue, rural and urban, and everywhere in between—get the training they need for the jobs of the future.
And now, we have something else to add to the equation: millions of jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing that are being created by my husband Joe and his Administration. Jobs just waiting to be filled by students like you—if we can build the pathways you need.
Your President, and the leaders of the Departments of Labor and Energy, understand that. It’s my honor to be joined by Deputy Secretary of Energy Dave Turk—who has been a partner and friend to Joe since his time in the Senate. And of course, our next Secretary of Labor, Julie Su. Julie is going to have the chance to use her decades of experience to help so many others find the American dream for themselves. Thank you both for joining me today.
Career-connected learning that starts in high school, provides access to two years of community college, and connects to great jobs is the future of our workforce. It’s how we grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. And Joe is bringing together his entire Administration to make that future a reality.
Across the country, we’re seeing programs like this one bridge the gap between what students learn and the careers they will find. And we need more communities to follow Ivy Tech’s lead. Because when they do, all students, no matter their background, will have the chance to follow their passions and find a pathway to a great job.
And together, we’ll be able to fundamentally transform what it means to make a living and make a life here in America.