Colorado State Capitol | Denver, CO
Thank you, Governor Polis, for your kind words and for your leadership. You and Marlon are working tirelessly for the people you serve. It’s my honor to be back in Colorado with you today.
I’d also like to thank Lieutenant Governor Primavera for joining us today. And I’m grateful to all the leaders here for taking the time to be with us and for your very warm welcome.
Yesterday, I attended the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship in Dallas and want to congratulate both teams on a great season.
Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit your state many times, often at the invitation of Mark Udall and his wife, Maggie, who have been such great friends to us. And I’ve had the opportunity to see incredible programs at your community colleges.
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 better airport safety, to clean water, these new investments are helping leaders in states, cities, and rural areas improve people’s lives.
I’m starting my travel in Denver, where, to date, Joe’s Administration has already announced more than one billion dollars for roads, bridges, roadway safety, and major projects in Colorado. And he’s invested hundreds of millions of dollars in clean energy efforts here. After this, I’m heading to Michigan. And, later this week I will travel to Maine and Vermont. I’ll be focusing on community colleges and jobs. We need to work together to help our students get the education and training they need for the careers they want.
To do that, I’d like to open with a question: Why do we often equate success with just a handful of educational pathways?
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 changes so many industries, these kinds of learning paths are more important than ever.
Now, community colleges have always been about jobs. You know that because many of you have worked to build great community colleges throughout Colorado. So maybe you’re wondering: Jill, what’s new here?
Well, we’ve added something else to the equation: President Biden and his administration are creating millions of jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing.
These positions pay well. And many of them require associate degrees, certificates, Registered Apprenticeships, 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. Our vision 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 opens up pathways to a four-year degree, should a student choose to continue their education.
It’s 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.
You know that. It’s why you’ve been investing in these pathways for years, and why Governor Polis and bipartisan leaders of the General Assembly are coming together to propose a new free job training program. With your leadership, communities across the state will be able to find the critical workers they need for their schools, firehouses, and construction sites.
With champions from both sides of the aisle, these kinds of programs are a great place to find common ground.
That’s why President Biden is making community colleges and career-connected learning top priorities in his 2024 budget. We’re going to continue to be partners with you.
This state is already a model for the country. And today, I want to thank you for that leadership and ask you to keep going.
Keep innovating in how you help high schools and colleges work together so that every young person in your city can take advantage of dual enrollment options and get a jump start on a degree. Continue working with local businesses and unions to create hands-on learning experiences like Registered Apprenticeships. Invest in free job training opportunities like the one that’s on the table right now!
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.
Now, I’m excited to hear more from legislators and leaders who are focused on these issues in Colorado.
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