Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by First Lady Jill Biden on the “Investing in America” Tour in Vermont
Thank you, Governor Scott, for your kind words and for your leadership in connecting students to the careers of the future. You and Diana are working hard for Vermont.
Secretary Cardona, Senator Welch, Congresswoman Balint, Mayor Weinberger, and all the other leaders here, thank you for joining us today.
Jane, in countless backstage areas, waiting rooms, and hold rooms, we built a friendship. We have so much in common, and one of those things is our careers as educators. Thank you to you and Bernie for your steadfast support of our students and educators, today and every day.
After passing historic legislation these last two years, the Biden-Harris Administration is traveling the country on an “Investing in America” tour to talk to people about what it all means for you, for your families and your communities. From new manufacturing jobs, to high-speed internet, to airport safety, to clean water, these new investments are helping leaders in states, cities, and rural areas improve people’s lives.
I’m excited to be in Vermont, where, to date, Joe’s Administration has already announced more than one billion dollars for roads, bridges, roadway safety, and other major projects. And he’s invested millions of dollars in building the green economy of the future here.
For most people, a high school diploma alone isn’t enough to find a great career. But they often don’t need a four-year degree to pursue their passions either. And as technology brings changes to so many industries, these kinds of learning paths are more important than ever.
Since he took office, my husband, President Biden, has been focused on rebuilding the middle class. And today, millions of new jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing are being created.
These positions pay well. And many of them require associate degrees, certificates, or other hands-on instruction, not four years of college.
Still, a lot of high school students don’t necessarily know how to get from earning their diplomas to earning a living. They may not even know what roles are out there.
That’s why learning that’s connected to careers is the heart of the Biden education pathway. It starts with free, high-quality universal preschool and goes through high school. It provides access to two years of affordable community college and connects to great jobs. And it helps students pursue four-year degrees if they want to continue their education.
Just look around us right now. The students who are with us today are learning what it takes to design airplanes and maintain electric vehicles. They’re exploring jobs that didn’t even exist when many of us were in school.
With dual enrollment, shadowing programs, and paid internships, high school students are getting experience and credentials that will give them a jump start on college or a career. And with the state’s investment in free community college, many of those students will have an affordable path forward.
I want to thank Community College of Vermont, Beta Technologies, and all of the partners here today for investing in these opportunities. What you are doing in this community is the future of our workforce: how we grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.
These aren’t red ideas or blue ideas. They’re American ideas. With champions from both sides of the aisle, these kinds of programs are a great place to find common ground.
President Biden understands that. It’s why he’s making community colleges and career-connected learning top priorities in his 2024 budget. We’re going to continue to be partners with you.
In fact, just today, the Department of Labor is announcing an $80 million grant competition to support innovative training programs for jobs being created by President Biden’s Investing in America efforts.
Your governor and legislators have been leaders on this issue. So, I want to thank this state for your leadership and ask you to keep going.
Keep innovating in how you help high schools and colleges work together so that every young person has a pathway to the jobs that are critical to rebuilding our infrastructure, propelling our clean energy future, and revitalizing our manufacturing here at home.
You know how to get this done, but you don’t have to do it alone. Joe and his Administration are with you.
Through the Biden education pathway, we can fundamentally transform what it means to make a living and make a life here in America.