NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Vice President Biden visits Renton Technical College with Senators Murray, Cantwell

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden spoke at Ren­ton Tech­ni­cal Col­lege today late in the morn­ing. He spoke on the state of the mid­dle class and the need for skilled work­ers in the com­ing years. He plugged com­mu­ni­ty col­leges as the most flex­i­ble edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions in the unit­ed states.

Biden said that we are no longer talk­ing about out­sourc­ing, we are talk­ing about insourc­ing. He said that man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs are com­ing back. Biden claimed that today there are 100,000 high tech man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs going unfilled in the Unit­ed States. He said that not all of these jobs require a PhD, or a four-year degree, or even a two-year degree. These are jobs that are requir­ing new skills and he said com­mu­ni­ty col­leges are work­ing with local man­u­fac­tur­ers in set­ting up spe­cif­ic train­ing pro­grams to ful­fill man­u­fac­tur­ing needs. He used a solar shin­gle man­u­fac­tur­er in Michi­gan as an example.

Biden said that accord­ing to a study that he direct­ed for the Pres­i­dent that 1,400,000 IT jobs, with a min­i­mum salary of $59,000, will need to be filled in the next decade. He also claimed that we will need over 600,000 more reg­is­tered nurs­es with aver­age annu­al pay of between $65,000 and $75,000. Biden also stat­ed that we need 1,200 more solar pan­el installers with a start­ing salary of $30,000 and 115,000 more elec­tri­cians with an aver­age salary of $50,000. He also claimed that there will be 1,500 more jobs every year in the aero­space industry.

Biden stat­ed that the key to train­ing peo­ple for these mid­dle class jobs is the tech­ni­cal col­lege. Then Biden also spoke about grants includ­ing PELL grants to help stu­dents pay for edu­ca­tion. Biden also spoke about part­ner­ing with orga­nized labor to use grants to set up appren­tice­ship pro­grams, stat­ing that it is the most direct path to train work­ers for these skilled jobs.

Chang­ing his focus to ener­gy, Biden point­ed out that the U.S. is at the ener­gy epi­cen­ter of the world now. He said that in this coun­try, “we have more oper­at­ing oil and gas rigs than in any oth­er oth­er coun­try com­bined.” Biden said that North Amer­i­ca will be ener­gy inde­pen­dent by the year 2021 and the U.S. will be ener­gy inde­pen­dent by 2025. How­ev­er, it is the goal of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Vice Pres­i­dent Biden to have expo­nen­tial­ly grow­ing renew­able ener­gy in the U.S.

Biden then spoke about the econ­o­my and how the econ­o­my is recov­er­ing from the worst reces­sion, but then point­ed out that the mid­dle class is still hurt­ing. There has been no real growth in mid­dle class incomes. He said that a study has shown that mid­dle class wages “have only gone up four­teen cents in that last four­teen years.” “The mid­dle class is hurt­ing” Biden said. To fix this, Biden described the plan to “cre­ate more path­ways” for peo­ple to move up to these new high­er-pay­ing jobs.

Biden closed by leav­ing the podi­um, mov­ing close to the audi­ence and say­ing that one of the goals is to “change the psy­chol­o­gy of the coun­try”. He fur­ther explained his mean­ing say­ing that by train­ing peo­ple with new skills, new entre­pre­neurs will emerge, result­ing in more small busi­ness­es being cre­at­ed. Biden then left as he said “We can do this folks! We real­ly can!”

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One Comment

  1. Great syn­op­sis of the VP’s vis­it. I think it is good that he could vis­it the area and speak to a room of stu­dents as well as a fundraiser.

    # by Mike Barer :: October 9th, 2014 at 7:01 PM
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