THE PRESIDENT: Hello everyone. (Applause.) That’s a good group. That is a very good group, I will tell you. I’m looking at these people — I see them on the cover of all the magazines every week, every month. Hi, Fred.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great.
Well, thank you, Ivanka, very much, and for your incredible leadership of the White House workforce initiative. You really have done an incredible job, and you’ve worked so hard. And I want to just tell you, we’re all proud of you. Everyone here is proud of you, especially these folks back here because that’s the future. So I want to thank you, honey. (Applause.)
I’m thrilled and honored to be here today to launch the National Council for the American Worker. Joining us for the announcement is Secretary Wilbur Ross — Secretary — good; Secretary Alex Acosta; Betsy DeVos — everybody knows, education; Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke — Peter, great job you’re doing; Director Mulvaney, who has worked so hard — those budgets, but they’re coming along, right? Right, Mick? Linda McMahon — Administrator, Small Business. Thank you Linda. Jared — fantastic job. Chris — incredible. What a group; this group. Nobody knows Kellyanne — nobody knows. (Laughter.)
All stand up. Fantastic job, Andrew. Thank you. Please stand up. (Applause.) Really great. Thank you.
I want to thank you, also — we have some very special people here. House Education and Workforce Chairwoman — see, now we say “chairwoman,” right? We like it better. Virginia Foxx. Virginia. (Applause.) And we have — thanks, Virginia, great job — Representatives Rick Allen, Jaime Herrera Beutler. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Sean Duffy. Sean? Sean? My friend. (Applause.) Jim Renacci and Claudia Tenney. (Applause.)
We have some very special other folks here, in a very high administrative capacity. We have a favorite of mine: Governor Scott Walker. What a job he’s done. (Applause.) Thank you, Scott. And Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale. Matt, great. I hear you’re doing good, Matt. (Applause.) I hear big things from Matt.
We’re really especially grateful to be joined today by the top CEOs, union leaders, trade associations, and educators from all around the country. These are the biggest. These are the best. These are the most talented.
Among those — and I’m going to be introducing them and going around the table with them as they sign their pledge — but we have a friend of mine for a long time — the, really, founder and creator — and I heard he did a report at his school, and he got low marks because they said it couldn’t work, and he ended up getting very high marks because it’s a company called FedEx. Is that a correct story? Pretty correct, right? That professor didn’t know what happened. Fred Smith. Thank you, Fred. (Applause.) I think we’ll have to give that professor low marks, Fred, because it worked out. Huh?
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. (Laughs.) It worked out well for you.
Home Depot CEO — doing a fantastic job — Craig Menear. Craig? (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Craig.
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. And how’s the F-35 doing? Right on time? Right? (Applause.) Good job.
Raytheon CEO Tom Kennedy. Tom. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Tom. (Applause.)
Northrop Grumman President Kathy Warden. (Applause.)
And we’re going to introduce everybody in a little while. I also want to recognize Dan England, chairman of the American Trucking Association, along with Johnny Taylor, president of the Society for Human Resource Management. They’ve been fantastic, and really worked hard with us.
Everyone here today is united by the same goal: to train, recruit, hire American workers. Thanks to our tremendous economic successes — and we’ve had a lot of them. And we’ve never had — and I have to tell you, as a country, we have never been more successful than we are, exactly, right now, today. The numbers coming out are beyond what anyone ever thought possible. (Applause.)
And so there’s never been a better time to hire and grow in America. We’ve created 3.7 million jobs since the election. In the month of June alone, we grew the workforce by more than 600,000 workers. I say that if I ever mention this — (applause) — if I ever mentioned this during the campaign, they would have said there’s no way. There’s no way — no way that could happen. Well, it’s happened, and far more than we ever thought.
We’re in the longest positive job growth streak in American history. African American unemployment has reached its lowest level in American history. Hispanic unemployment is at its lowest level in American history. Asian unemployment has reached its lowest level in American history. Women’s unemployment — oh, this is too bad, Marillyn — this is very sad — has reached its lowest level in only 65 years. But within about two weeks, I think we’ll be able to say “in American history.” Because it’s moving quickly. Okay? Sixty-five years, not so bad. Right? (Applause.)
Consumer and business confidence has reached its all-time highs — the highest ever recorded. And 95 percent of manufacturers are optimistic about the future. That’s the highest number ever recorded. So a lot of good things are happening out there.
Every day, we are lifting our forgotten Americans off the sidelines, out of the margins, and back into the workforce. We are giving a second chance at life to the 620,000 former inmates who reenter society each year. There’s nothing like a great, great jobs market to take care of that situation. It’s incredible what’s happened with people that were in prison that, previous to this, could not get themselves a job. And now they’re being hired, and people are loving them. It’s been really incredible to see. (Applause.)
But to keep this momentum going, to continue this economic miracle — and that’s what it is, it’s a miracle what’s happened in the last years and a half — we must invest in job training and vocational education. I mean, the fact is that companies are pouring back into our country — companies that, frankly, left 10 and 20 years ago, and they’re coming back. And we need people to work for those companies. We need talented people. We need people with training.
That’s why, in a few moments, I will be signing an executive order to establish the National Council for the American Worker. That’s a first. This Council will be made up of top officials across the government. We’re also establishing an outside advisory board of industry leaders and experts, which we will announce in the coming weeks. Very shortly. A lot of people want to be on that board very badly; I have some great people going on that board.
Together, their task will be to develop a national workforce and strategy to equip Americans of all ages and at all stages of their career with the skills they need to thrive in the modern economy. Whether it’s a high school student looking to land their first job — first job ever. They’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, and they lose that enthusiasm when they don’t land that job, but now they’re all landing jobs. Or a late-career worker who wants to learn a new trade, we want every American to have the chance to earn a great living doing a great job that they love, where they wake up in the morning and they can’t get to work fast enough. A lot of these people know that feeling. That’s why they’re in the position they’re in.
In that spirit, I’m proud to announce an exciting new challenge and the beginning of a new national movement. We’re asking businesses and organizations across the country to sign our new pledge to America’s workers.
Today, 23 companies and associations are pledging to expand apprenticeships. That’s an interesting word for me to be saying. Right? “The Apprentice.” (Laughter.) I never actually put that together until just now. That was a good experience, I will tell you that. (Laughter.) Isn’t that strange? Ivanka, I never associated — but here we are. Can’t get away from that word. That’s a great word. For on the job training and vocational education.
They will sign the Pledge, committing to train and re-train more than 3.8 million American students and workers for new jobs and rewarding careers. (Applause.)
This is only day one, and we far exceeded our initial goal of 500,000 students and workers. We thought it was going to be 500,000, and it’s close to 4 million. And by the time the day ends, it will probably be well over 4 million.
In the days and months ahead, we hope that hundreds of companies and organizations will join us in this effort. I want to thank all of the wonderful companies and associations who are about to sign the Pledge, and we’re about to introduce. I applaud your civic leadership. It’s incredible. I know so many of you. I know how committed you are. You’re great people. And your commitment to training and recruiting American workers.
Also here with us today are American workers who know firsthand how job training transforms their lives. I’d like to invite a couple of them to speak.
Brian — Brianna — where is Brianna? Brianna, come on over here. Brianna DeAngelo, from Greenwood, Indiana is an apprentice for Gaylor Electric. Good company? Better say yes.
DEANGELO: Oh, of course. (Laughter.) Of course.
THE PRESIDENT: Please, say a few words, Brianna. Thanks.
DEANGELO: Thank you. Hi, everyone. So I was a former college student turned mother turned electrician. I was given a great lifelong opportunity from Gaylor Electric and their partnership with the associated builders and contractors.
I’m standing here today for my daughter — three year-old. She’s got a long ways to go, but I’m standing here for her and women that they can see that they don’t have to conform to what society says they have to. You can do anything. I’m going to be an electrician in two years. (Applause.) Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Very nice. Also here today is Johnita McNair from Orlando, Florida, who is completing the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Apprenticeship for managers. And they’re really lot of talented people coming out of that program. Please, Johnita. (Applause.)
MCNAIR: Thank you. So first I’d like to say thank you for having me. I think I fall under the column where — the older workers. I’m a late bloomer, but that’s okay. I’m here. And 31 years in the hospitality industry has been good to me.
So my motivation is to be good to my generation that’s following me. My grandson came to me after his father was murdered, and he said, “I’m not going to have a role model.” “Yes, you will. I can’t teach you how to be a man but I can lead you in the right direction.” (Applause.)
So for — thank you for creating this bill and signing it so a lot of more people can have this opportunity. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Great job. That’s great.
I’d also like to ask Carl Greene to come up. He is a truck driver and a military veteran. And he’s doing really well. Carl? (Applause.) Hey, Carl.
GREEN: This is my fourth career. I started off as an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam. (Applause.) I went to the defense industries, and then to banking and investments, and then retired. I was bored. (Laughter.) Bored. I found C.R. England — thank you, sir — and found my last and greatest career.
I enjoy driving my big rig across this great, beautiful country delivering food to hungry people. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Carl. And thank you to everybody. You’ve really been very special. We know every one of you and the great job you’ve done. Thank you all very much. Fantastic. (Applause.) Fantastic. Great careers.
America is blessed with the greatest workers anywhere in the world. And today we are taking historic steps to ensure that every American has the chance to realize their full-time potential.
By signing the Pledge to America’s Workers, these great companies — and they are great; these are the greatest in the world — are affirming their commitment to train American workers for American jobs, because America’s strength, America’s heart, and America’s soul is found in our people. More than anything else, it’s in our people. It is their love, their pride, and their patriotism that makes this magnificent land our beloved home.
And together, with the help of everyone in this room, we will truly make America greater than ever before. It’s what’s happening. Greater than ever before. And I think it’s happening faster than anyone ever thought. It’s moving rapidly. We have numbers coming out — and past and present, and hopefully future — that are far beyond anybody’s wildest expectations. And I think, frankly, you haven’t seen anything yet.
So I will now sign the executive order. And then I’m going to go around and say hello to these incredible people. And they’re going to be giving the name of their company, and many of you know them already, and they’re going to be signing — taking on almost 4 million people. That’s very exciting. So thank you all very much.
I’m going to sign the executive order. (Applause.)
(The executive order is signed.) (Applause.)
Let’s go over here. Go ahead, Bob.
DURBIN: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it’s my distinct honor on behalf of the aerospace and defense industry, the voice of the world’s greatest aerospace and defense. The Aerospace Industry Association is committed to creating new opportunities to the tune of 48,000 for our students and workers over the next five years. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Bob. Thank you.
LUGAR: Mr. President, Katherine Lugar —
THE PRESIDENT: Sign that, Bob. Sign it.
LUGAR: All right, let’s sign it. (Laughter.) Let’s see how this goes down.
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t want anyone sneaking out. LUGAR: There we have it.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
LUGAR: All right. On behalf of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and our 26,000 members, and in addition to our management track apprenticeship program, we are announcing 130,000 new opportunities with scholarships, certifications, at a cost-free college program for the great women and men of hospitality.
THE PRESIDENT: That is a big number. Thank you, Katherine. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you, Katherine. Thank you very much.
ENGLAND: My name is Dan England, CEO of England Trucking.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
ENGLAND: I’m representing the American Trucking Associations. And we’re committing to 50,000 new opportunities over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. That’s big stuff. Thank you, Dan. Thank you. (Applause.) That’s fantastic. Thank you, Dan.
SIZEMORE: Mr. President, on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors and our 21,000 members, we pledge to educate and reeducate 500,000 craft workers. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That is fantastic. And you’ll do it. You’ll do it. I know you will, Greg. Thank you. Thank you.
TURMAIL: Mr. President, on behalf of the Associated General Contractors of America, we pledge to train or to upskill over 172,500 construction craft workers and professionals over the next five years. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you, Brian. Thank you. That’s beautiful.
SMITH: Hello, Mr. President. How you doing?
THE PRESIDENT: This is some man right here, I’ll tell you.
SMITH: Fed-Ex will train or reskill 512,000 people over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you, Fred. Thank you. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR WALKER: Mr. President, sir, good to see you again.
THE PRESIDENT: Scott Walker. You know who this is, right? He’s building the most incredible place you’ve ever seen in Wisconsin. Right, Scott? I just left. That’s got to be — tell us about that for a second. Go ahead.
GOVERNOR WALKER: Yes, sir. We’re building — bringing an industry back to America that hasn’t been here in probably over at least 30 years, which is advanced electronics manufacturing. And we’re going to bring that into southeast Wisconsin. As part of that, I’d like to pledge today to provide enhanced career opportunities for 13,000 Americans in Wisconsin.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Fantastic. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much.
TURTON: Mr. President, General Motors is proud to offer 10,975 workforce training opportunities over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.
MENEAR: Mr. President, The Home Depot is pleased to provide enhanced training and opportunities for 50,000 associates at The Home Depot for the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. (Applause.)
MENEAR: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, give my regards. You know that. Say hello.
CROZIER: Mr. President, Jen Crozier. And on behalf of IBM, we are proud of programs like P-TECH, apprenticeships, and reskilling, and committed to preparing 100,000 students and workers.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow, that’s fantastic. (Applause.) And I heard your company is doing great. You’re doing great. Thank you.
BECKERMEN: Mr. President, Michael Beckerman, representing the Internet industry. Today we’re announcing over 30,000 opportunities — and this is just the tip of the iceberg — from the Internet industry, to ensure the American workers have the digital skills they need to compete in the economy of today and tomorrow. So, thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you, Michael.
HEWSON: Mr. President, on behalf of Lockheed Martin, I’m proud to say that today we pledge to provide career opportunities — new career opportunities for more than 8,000 employees over the next five years. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Marillyn. And you’ve done a fantastic job. Thank you, Marillyn. Hey, Fred, she makes a plane you can’t see; it’s stealth. (Laughter.) F-35. I hope you can’t see it, at least. Right? Great job. Thank you very much.
CORTEZ: Mr. President, on behalf of Microsoft — 10,000 opportunities — I’m really proud to be their representative. And I served 33 years in the Marines —
THE PRESIDENT: Whoa, that’s fantastic.
CORTEZ: — with John Kelly and Jim Mattis. And you got two one good ones.
THE PRESIDENT: Very good. You’re right. They’re great. They’re great. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
NOEL: Mr. President, my name is Randy Noel, representing the National Association of Home Builders.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Good.
NOEL: And through our Home Builders Institute, our educational arm, we pledge to prepare 50,000 new workers to work at building the American Dream.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
GIFFORD: Mr. President, my name is Rob Gifford. And on behalf of the National Restaurant Association, we pledge to train 370,000 people over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: That is great. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
SHAY: Mr. President, Matt Shay. On behalf of the National Retail Federation, we’re pleased to be here to thank you for your leadership. We are committing to train, certify, and upskill 250,000 workers, at least, over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: I know you. It’s going to be even more.
SHAY: Thank you. (Applause.)
MCGARVEY: Mr. President, Sean McGarvey, North America’s Building Trades Unions. And on behalf of our unions and our contractor partners, we commit to invest $6 billion, and train and recruit and register 250,000 apprentices over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)
WARDEN: Mr. President, I’m Kathy Warden. On behalf of Northrup Grumman, we commit to 7,500 new apprenticeships over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
KENNEDY: Mr. President, Tom Kennedy from Raytheon. And we pledge 39,000 enhanced career opportunities over the next five years.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
CLERKIN: Mr. President, I’m Tom Clerkin with Signatory Wall and Ceiling Alliance. We pledge, through the carpenters’ union and joint with trusted funds, 50,000 upgraded training opportunities.
THE PRESIDENT: Great. I know the union well. (Applause.)
TAYLOR: Mr. President, Johnny Taylor. Good to see you.
THE PRESIDENT: Friend. He’s my friend.
TAYLOR: That’s right. On behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management, we have 300,000 members. And more importantly, we touch the lives of 100 million workers every day. We’re dedicated and committed to creating 127,000 new opportunities over the next five years for America. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRICE: Mr. President, my name is Scott Price. I’m pleased to represent UPS, where we are committing to 51,750 new roles through higher education and apprenticeships.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MURPHY: Mr. President, I’m Julie Murphy from Walmart.
THE PRESIDENT: Walmart. Wait until you hear this number, folks.
MURPHY: And we commit to train and develop over 1 million associates in the next five years. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That is fantastic. Thank you, Tom.
So that’s a big beginning. That’s a much bigger beginning, Ivanka, than anyone thought possible. We’re very proud of everybody in this room. You folks — for so many years, I’ve known so many of you. But that is really a great commitment. So we appreciate it. We’re just getting started. We need people to be trained. We need people that are going to go out and really love their job, and that’s what you’re going to do. And those are great jobs. Marillyn, those are great jobs.
Thank you all. Fred. Thank you, everybody. This is a big, big day for our country. There’s never been anything done like this before. And you see the numbers, so we’re going to need all of these people. And most importantly in the room, good luck to you. Good luck. Thank you. Good luck. (Applause.)
3:39 P.M. EDT