As Prepared For Delivery:

Thank you so much for that kind introduction, Acting Secretary Su. It’s a privilege to be here with you and your terrific team.

And hello, everyone! It’s so great to join you for this convening of the Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy.

Many thanks to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the National League of Cities for putting this together. 

I’m honored to be here alongside so many mayors and local leaders from communities of all sizes.

 From Tacoma, Washington, to Tempe, Arizona; from Monroe, North Carolina, to Missoula, Montana.

Thank you for all you to do to ensure that we’re developing a workforce that is prepared to take advantage of tomorrow’s jobs.

President Biden believes we must grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up.

Actually, it’s a lot more than “belief.”

His vision for our economy is working.

With Bidenomics, the United States has had the highest economic growth among the world’s leading economies since the pandemic.

We’ve added more than 13 million jobs, including more than 800,000 manufacturing jobs. 

That’s more jobs added in two years than any President has added in a four-year term.

Unemployment has been below 4% for 16 months—the longest stretch in 50 years.

And the share of working-age Americans in the workforce hasn’t been higher in 20 years.

The President’s economic agenda has spurred $500 billion in private-sector investments to date.

The President’s historic Investing in America agenda create even more opportunities to transform our economy and make it work for everyone.

This is a historic challenge: Our investments won’t be successful if we don’t have enough people to do the jobs.

It’s also a historic opportunity: We have the ability to bring people—people who have been left behind—into good-paying jobs.

From rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to revitalizing American manufacturing, to creating a clean energy renaissance.

These investments can revolutionize opportunity for working-class Americans.

Our success, however, hinges on a workforce strategy that brings people in.

In particular, workers without four-year college degrees, and those who have too long been on the sidelines or left behind.

Too often, people in the communities we’re investing in can’t see themselves in these jobs, or see a path to getting back to work.

Maybe you’re a single mom who is outside of the workforce because you can’t find affordable child care.

Maybe you have a history in our criminal justice system and find that your record still presents a barrier to employment.

Or maybe you’re a high school senior who is unsure if college is right for you.

The truth is, we’ve never done workforce well as a country.

For too long, we have left so many behind in our economy.

Now, we have the chance to build a truly inclusive economy with the right strategy.

We can learn from our local efforts on the ground floor.

You are the leaders who will make the difference in success or failure.

Strong local leadership is critical to maximizing these investments and opportunities.

A strong local workforce system helps all kinds of people see themselves in good careers.

It helps them understand the pathway into them.

It helps connect them to the high-quality training and supports that will take them along that path.

That’s why, in May, the First Lady announced two new initiatives to partner with local leaders in more than 20 communities across America.

That includes the Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy, which we’re celebrating today, and the Workforce Hubs Initiative.

In the 16 communities represented here today and the five Workforce Hubs, we’ll build diverse pipelines of skilled workers.

We’ll connect workers directly to opportunities.

And we’ll create models that we can replicate across the country.

We’re eager to partner with you all on evidence-based, innovative approaches that work.

We’re eager to get workers—including women, workers of color, and workers with disabilities—into good-paying union jobs. Where they have a strong voice.

It starts with taking a sector-wide approach that brings together employers, unions, community colleges, training providers, and others.

It means building deep, sustained partnerships between them.

It continues with expanding high-quality, earn-as-you-learn models—like Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.

It means increasing work-based learning options for youth through strong Career and Technical Education programs.

And it requires expanded supportive services, like child care and transportation assistance.

These supports are so critical to helping underserved workers enroll in training, complete it, and stay in good jobs.

The Biden-Harris Administration, led by DOL and partner federal agencies, has been putting our muscle into these proven approaches.

DOL’s Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program supports training in high-growth, high-wage sectors.

The President has made historic investments in Registered Apprenticeships.

His Executive Order on Care, which he signed in April, directs every Cabinet-level agency to support child care and long-term care for workers.

And so much more.

The 16 communities you all represent are poised to turbo-charge these approaches.

You’ll have the full power of our federal agencies and the National League of Cities at your backs.

For example, leveraging DOL’s expertise, you will identify quality, in-demand job opportunities in real time—and guide workers along high-quality pathways into those careers.

Through this Academy, you all have the chance to learn from each other’s models.

You all will establish a network to share best practices that will support the vibrancy of local economies for decades to come.

On behalf of the Administration, I’m excited for the partnership and hard work this next year will bring.

I know your efforts will pay huge dividends.

These dividends will pay off—not just for workers in your communities, but for American workers nationwide and the American economy writ large.

Thank you.

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