Jul 14, 2022
Vice President Harris Hosts the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and Workforce Transcript
Vice President Harris Hosts the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and Workforce. Read the transcript here.
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Gene Sperling: (00:00)
Hello, I’m Gene Sperling, White House Coordinator for the American Rescue Plan. I want to welcome everyone to the White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce. We already know that the American Rescue Plan has led to a record nine million jobs, including through job saved from layoffs prevented, direct payroll support and investments in areas of small business infrastructure and education.
Gene Sperling: (00:23)
Today’s summit however, is focused on the commitments that we’ve seen from governors, mayors, county leaders, community leaders, to use the American Rescue Plan to invest in workforce development. The training, apprenticeships, credential building, recruitment, and retention that we as a country need to meet the essential in-demand jobs in both the public and private sectors, and to ensure that all Americans are empowered to find better jobs, better careers, better pay with rights, dignity, and respect at work.
Gene Sperling: (00:59)
The 40 billion in such workforce investments that we are announcing today is a conservative estimate. We expect the final number to be tens of billions of dollars higher, but we wanted to give a sense of what is happening in literally over a thousand jurisdictions who have answered the president and vice president’s call to invest in our workforce. So on whitehouse.gov, our website, we are highlighting 50 best practices, but we’re bringing to today some of the best models that you can hear from directly from the governors, mayors, and county leaders who are leading them.
Gene Sperling: (01:40)
Even in a two and a half hour summit, we can only touch on a fraction of the innovative investments in workforce across this country. So this summit will focus on a few special areas. First, we want to offer a special view from the governors’ perspective who receive and often distribute so much of the funds. We’ll do so with the initial session with our senior advisor to the president, Julie Rodriguez, who will discuss this with the Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania and Governor Cooper of North Carolina.
Gene Sperling: (02:12)
Second, we will do a special focus on a presidential and vice presidential call to action on ensuring that we have the diverse, strong, workforce ready for the infrastructure jobs to come. We’ll highlight initially our own DC Mayor Bowser and her DC infrastructure academy. Then we’re going to do a special session that focuses on the pre apprenticeship model to help increase the diversity and pipeline of the construction and broadband and other infrastructure related jobs to come.
Gene Sperling: (02:48)
Next, we will focus on one of the most underappreciated investments in the American Rescue Plan, which is the historic funding that is being used both in childcare, at home and community based care, but also in building our public healthcare infrastructure, our workforce infrastructure, community health workers. So we have a panel on that.
Gene Sperling: (03:10)
Then finally, we’ll focus on the efforts that people are using with the American Rescue Plan dollars to help increase the workforce by allowing more Americans who face barriers, whether it’s homelessness, whether it’s disabilities, whether it’s being formerly incarcerated. To get into the workforce in a way that helps them contribute to their families and their communities and pursue their potential and their sense of worth and contribution.
Gene Sperling: (03:45)
In the opening as we will start, we’ll hear from the Secretary of Labor, and then the Vice President United States. Then as we rearrange the set here, we’ll let you hear by video from former Atlanta mayor and Senior Advisor to the President, Keisha Lance Bottoms, as well as the National Economic Advisor, Brian Deese.
Gene Sperling: (04:08)
I’ll just finally say that as the American Rescue Plan coordinator, I just cannot tell you how appreciative I am that the vice president of the United States chose to convene and host this conference. Her leadership on having job readiness for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, her chairing of the White House Labor Task Force are just a few of examples of her commitment to ensure all Americans are empowered to have good and dignified jobs with rights and respect at work.
Gene Sperling: (04:43)
One thing she and I would both agree on is that she and the president do not have a better partner in this work than the Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh. I mean, I can tell you the basics that he is the former mayor of Boston, that he’s a proud card carrying union member and leader of the building trades before this. It is also no secret in this White House that when the president of the United States and the vice president have any issue that has to do with the worker force of America or the workers of America, their first, second, and final call is Secretary Walsh. That is what high respect he is held within this White House and this administration. So I’m honored to introduce you, the 29th Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh.
Marty Walsh: (05:41)
Thank you very much, Gene, for that introduction. I want to, also many of you were in a meeting with Gene a little while ago, and his commitment and dedication to making sure that we make a difference with the American Rescue Plan funds money. We had a conversation about a month ago, we spoke for about two hours talking about the need to make sure these investments, and they are investments, they’re investments in people. They’re investments of opening up our economy. They’re investments of moving us forward. So I want to thank you, Gene, and all of your colleagues for the great work you’re doing.
Marty Walsh: (06:10)
President Biden and Vice President Harris, I want to thank them as well for their leadership. The state, local leaders, labor leaders, and workforce partners that are here today, having these important conversations. I want to thank you, not just for having the conversations today, but for sharing what you’ve seen in your communities all across this country. Thank you for speaking up for your constituents, for your workers you represent, and all those folks.
Marty Walsh: (06:32)
At this moment, we have a tremendous opportunity in America. We’ve added more jobs for our economy than any other time on record. Over nine million jobs since President Biden took office, including 327,000 last month. A generational infrastructure investment is creating more good jobs all across our country and workers are empowered by the economy to see better opportunities for themselves and their families.
Marty Walsh: (06:56)
This moment also presents great challenges. Employers are looking for the right tools to attract and retain the talent that they need to grow their companies in your cities, quite honestly. State and local leaders are tackling workforce needs in their local economies. Many workers continue to face longstanding barriers to opportunity.
Marty Walsh: (07:16)
Workers of color held back by inequality, women who face wage gaps, occupational barriers, and caregiving challenges. People with disabilities who haven’t had the opportunities that they quite honestly deserve. People who spent time in the court system or in prison, looking for an opportunity for a second chance. People in recovery, recovering from substance use disorder or mental health services. People for whatever reason, didn’t get the educational training they needed to meet their goals and their ambitions when they were younger.
Marty Walsh: (07:47)
We also know there are many needs to access supportive services, such as childcare, transportation, and other services to be successful in job training and in career training. These folks together make up a big portion of our fellow Americans in our potential workforce. In the Biden, Harris administration, it’s a top economic priority to provide them with pathways into the middle class. This is how we grow our nation’s workforce. This is also how to meet the needs of our economy. It’s a way how we can achieve a more inclusive economy that meets the needs for all.
Marty Walsh: (08:22)
At the Department of Labor, I’m honored to be the secretary of [inaudible 00:08:27] labor. Don’t tell the other secretaries I said that because they’ll get mad and think I want to jump ship. I don’t. We launched the Good Jobs Initiative I talked about a little earlier today, to make sure that everything we do is helping workers to meet this very moment. It means valuing and investing in our cares economy, taking action to support partnerships and investments, focus in industries in the cares economies, for example, healthcare and educational occupations and childcare. That’s why we’ve been collaborating, expanding partnerships with intermediaries, particularly through registered apprenticeships, to create pathways into the care sector and elevating the importance of job quality in these occupations.
Marty Walsh: (09:08)
In our workforce development, especially we depend on collaborations with state and local government and county government, employers large and small need to be at the table because they’re the ones looking for the workers. So we’re working with them. Unions, community colleges, HBCUs, workforce experts, people on the grounds who understand what the local needs are needed in your communities.
Marty Walsh: (09:30)
The president’s American Rescue Plan is providing states and local governments with the resources to address workforce needs like we’ve never seen before. That’s a good thing because to seize this opportunity, we need to be working collectively, collaboratively together. We need a sense of urgency at every single level of government and society. We need to innovate and forge new partnerships. That’s why the conversations that you’re having today are so important. We need to hear about the successes and what’s working.
Marty Walsh: (10:00)
We need to hear about the problems and the challenges that we need to overcome and collectively work together on. We need to share best practices and scale up what’s working to get people good jobs where they can thrive. That’s how we’ll build a workforce for the nation, that what the nation needs and we’ll achieve economic justice for our people who deserve it.
Marty Walsh: (10:19)
It’s my honor now, at this moment to introduce someone who leads the fight for good jobs and working families in this country. I’ve been with her in White House meetings. I’ve been with her in union halls. I’ve been with her in community colleges. I’ve been with her in neighborhoods all across this country. Whatever room she is in, the opportunities for working families is always her priority. She gets it. She served at a local level. She served at a state level. She served at a national level, and now she serves as the vice president. So please welcome, I’d like to welcome Vice President of the United States America, Kamala Harris.
Kamala Harris: (11:04)
Good morning, everyone. Good morning. Thank you.
Speaker 5: (11:07)
Kamala Harris: (11:11)
Good morning. Good morning. What an array of extraordinary American leaders. I thank you all for being here and for the work you’re doing every day. Secretary Walsh, I want to thank you for that introduction, but mostly I want to thank you for the work that you have done your entire career. As he said, he and I have been traveling the country together and he is an extraordinary fighter for the working people of America.
Kamala Harris: (11:33)
It is also good to be here with Gene Sperling and he has, as I had mentioned to many of the leaders earlier, he has been working day and night to coordinate with you to ensure that the American people benefit directly from the American rescue plan. So, Gene, I want to thank you for your leadership. I want to also recognize a long standing public servant and leader, Governor Roy Cooper, along with Governor Tom Wolf, who has done an extraordinary job during difficult times. So thank you all, and to all of the local and state elected leaders for being here today.
Kamala Harris: (12:10)
Before I begin, I will address this month’s CPI report. There is no question that we still have work to do, but it is important to note that these numbers do not fully reflect the recent drop in gas prices. Average national gas prices have fallen every day for nearly 30 days. Since mid-June, prices are down 40 cents a gallon. Fighting inflation is one of our administration’s top economic priorities, which is why we have taken action to lower the cost of living for Americans, millions of Americans.
Kamala Harris: (12:47)
We are releasing one million barrels of oil a day from the strategic petroleum reserve to lower prices at the pump. We have reduced high speed internet bills for millions of Americans. We passed a tax cut to give working families up to $8,000 a year, which means giving folks more room in their budgets to buy food, medication, and school supplies for their children.
Kamala Harris: (13:13)
President Joe Biden and I are always fighting to make sure that working families can get ahead and stay ahead. That is why we continue to call on Congress to pass legislation, to lower the price of prescription drugs, of healthcare, and the other everyday essentials that will meet the needs of American families. So helping working families is why we are here today.
Kamala Harris: (13:40)
When President Biden and I took office, our nation was facing its worst economic crisis in generations. We all remember millions of jobs had been lost. Millions of small businesses, closed. Millions of families pushed right to the edge, but we were not deterred. These leaders were not deterred. From day one, President Biden and I knew that to overcome these historic economic challenges, we needed to make an historic investment in our nations’ working families. We needed to build an economy that works for working people.
Kamala Harris: (14:26)
That is why with your help we fought for and passed the American Rescue Plan, which included among many things, a $40 billion investment in workforce development. Just think about that. When we talk about an investment in workforce development, that is about a direct investment in working people in America. It’s a direct investment in human capacity. For that reason, I know we’re all excited about what it means and the potential for where this will go for generations of workers in America.
Kamala Harris: (15:06)
So today it is an honor to gather with a group of leaders who are putting ARP dollars to work in communities across our nation. Governors and mayors, city commissioners, and county executives, workers, and labor leaders, with your help we are creating good paying jobs in small towns and big cities. Jobs for nurses and doctors, jobs for steel workers, pipe fitters, and engineers. Together we are investing in training programs and apprenticeships that give workers the skills they need to take on the jobs with better wages and better benefits, in particular, workers from underrepresented backgrounds.
Kamala Harris: (15:49)
Together we are expanding access to transportation. Seems like maybe it’s a small issue. It’s a big issue. You need to get to go and need to be able to get where you need to go to do the work and get home. So we have expanded access to transportation, including what we need to do to invest in public transit. Understanding that the infrastructure in our country around public transit is and has been in disrepair in many areas of our country. So that is the investment that we have put in there.
Kamala Harris: (16:21)
Together we are fighting to improve and expand our childcare and healthcare workforce so that everyone who needs better care can have access to better care, no matter where they live and no matter how much money they make. That includes eight million Americans who are part of the so-called sandwich generation, which means they’re right there in the middle, taking care of both their children and their parents. That includes people with mental and physical disabilities. So they can access the critical care and support they need to succeed and to thrive, to succeed and to thrive.
Kamala Harris: (16:58)
Together we are doing so much important and impactful work. We have therefore convened this summit with these extraordinary leaders so they can share their stories and share the stories of the people they represent. So we can discuss how we can continue to work together on behalf of the working people of our nation. I have seen firsthand how much is possible when we collaborate across lines that relate to the direct benefit of the people of our nation.
Kamala Harris: (17:32)
In fact, earlier this year I visited a union training facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s called WRPT Big Step. At Big Step I met workers who had received training to remove and replace the lead pipes and service lines that are poisoning our communities. It was truly an inspiration. As a result of their training those workers can now access good paying union jobs, jobs they can raise a family on. Jobs they can build a future on. Jobs that are helping us build a better future for our entire nation.
Kamala Harris: (18:07)
Today as many as 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare facilities receive their water through lead pipes. Graduates of Big Step are already removing lead pipes in Milwaukee. We have leaders from Milwaukee with us here today, and in communities across America. Big Step is one of hundreds of job training facilities around our nation that received funding through the ARP. Here with us today is Lindsay Blumer, president of WRTP Big Step. Lindsay, where are you? There you are. Lindsay, and all of the leaders here, I want to thank you for all that you have done to make real the promise of the American Rescue Plan.
Kamala Harris: (18:48)
Since President Joe Biden and I took office, we have accomplished so much with your help, but we still have more to do. We must continue our work together to build a nation where every worker is treated with dignity, where every community is safe and healthy, and where every child can reach their God given potential because every person in our nation, no matter where they start deserves the opportunity to succeed and to thrive. That is the future we are all fighting for. That is the future our administration is fighting for. A future that we will all build together. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you, all. Thank you.