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 reply on “Vice President Biden visits Renton Technical College with Senators Murray, Cantwell”

  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.

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