White House State Dining Room Washington D.C. July 25 3:45 P.M. EDT
Welcome everyone. Today, here we are here to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the White House's Pledge to America's Workers, a call to action for business and industry to create more and better jobs for Americans by providing education and skills for American students and workers.
I'd like to thank Vice President Pence. Mr. Vice President, I look forward to traveling with you to Florida tomorrow in support of this trade initiative. Thank you for everything that you've done.
Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Bernhardt, Secretary Ross, thank you for co-chairing this initiative with me at Commerce. Acting Secretary Pizzella, Secretary Azar, it was great being with you in Iowa just last week. Acting Secretary Administrator Wheeler, Acting Director Vought, Acting Administrator Pilkerton, Director Lawrence Kudlow - who has continued to tell me that if a CNBC host can be reskilled, anyone can. So I appreciate that. (Laughter.)
Director Joe Grogan, Representative Liz Cheney, and Representative Virginia Foxx, thank you.
Each of you has done a tremendous job furthering our Pledge to America's Workers.
This campaign was born out of the tremendous economic resurgence happening across our country. Today, more Americans are working than ever before. Virtually every single demographic is achieving historically low unemployment rates.
There are 7.3 million open jobs. Wages are surging. And with an unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, it is nearing the lowest rate in a half a century.
Amazingly, if you look at the last quarter, the second quarter - of all the new jobs created, 74 percent of new jobs were secured by Americans outside of the workforce on the sidelines of our economy.
This administration believes that every American should have a chance to earn a great living doing work that they love. The pledge reflects the President's commitment to ensuring inclusive economic growth and making sure that all Americans are equipped with the skills they need to secure and retain good-paying jobs, whether they're coming right out of high school and looking for their first career or entering their first career, or later on in their life cycle, needing to learn a new skill or a new trade because of the consequences and effects of automation in this rapidly changing, technological environment.
The President's call to action for the pledge has become a full-blown national movement. Over the last year, more than 300 businesses - 300 businesses - have signed the pledge - businesses large and small. And today, we celebrate reaching 12 million pledged commitments. (Applause.)
I have personally traveled to over 20 states in support of this initiative and heard unbelievable stories of potential realized and dreams achieved. This pledge is more than just a number. Every single pledge is a commitment to the promise of an individual and his or her potential.
The pledge is a commitment to 12 million American lives improved. Twelve million individual opportunities that will impact families and whole communities.
Today, we highlight the impact and the stories of lives transformed by companies investing in the greatest asset they have: the American worker. We will hear from individuals like Johnny, from Orlando, Florida; and Sarah, from Littleton, Colorado - Sarah and I were just together earlier this week; as they join us here at the White House.
And now I would like to turn it over to the President of the United States.
Well, thank you very much, Ivanka. (Applause.) And I think I'm allowed to be proud of my daughter. (Laughter.) But the fact is that she's worked so hard at this. And this started just about from the beginning, and she had lots of options to do certain things. All she knew is she wanted to help people, and it really is that she settled down into jobs and training.
And she has done an incredible - an incredible job herself, because I guess it's up to almost 12 million people, maybe even over 12 million people. And who would have thought that was possible? This started out - I shouldn't say this, Ivanka - but she was looking to do 500,000, and she did that in her first week. And you have to understand Ivanka to figure that one out. But now she's over 12 million, and it's an incredible thing. And she does it to make families happy.
Companies have stepped up, like Marillyn. Thank you very much. Lockheed Martin. But companies have stepped up to the plate, and so many companies have done thousands and thousands of jobs and the training for these jobs. It's not like the old days, where you go in and you do something that's much simpler today, with new technology and computers and all of the different things you have to know. This is just not something that you can easily step into. And companies can train so much better than governments. Governments get into that, and they really don't have a clue as to what they're doing. And it costs a lot of money.
And I just want to congratulate a lot of the people in the room because you worked with Ivanka and you've done something very special. All of our congresspeople and senators, and all of our fantastic people, like Ben - thank you very much, Ben. I know how much you've helped. Ben Carson. So much help has been given to Ivanka. And, really, it's a big congratulations. We're talking about a tremendous number. Nothing like this has ever been done before.
So, congratulations, Ivanka. Congratulations. And keep it up. So, when will you hit 24 million? When are you going to be doubling?
At this pace, very soon.
The way she goes, pretty soon. (Laughter.) So, thank you, honey.
And maybe I'd like to have Mike Pence say a few words, please. Vice President. Thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT:
Well, thank you, Mr. President. And I want to join you in commending Ivanka for the work that she's done on this, the work that members of our Cabinet have done, traveling all across the country.
It's astonishing to think, the one-year anniversary of the Pledge to America's Workers: 300 American companies committing to train people for 12 million good-paying American jobs. That is an astonishing accomplishment, and it's a tribute to all the great companies represented here.
And I think, Mr. President, it's not only evidence of Ivanka's dedication and your team's dedication, but it's also your commitment to working Americans. You said, three years ago, that the forgotten men and women would be forgotten no more. And the policies that we've advanced have revived the American economy. Six million new jobs created. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. But as Ivanka just said, there are millions of jobs going unfulfilled today.
And so, your initiative, Mr. President, with the Pledge to America's Workers, about making sure that people just like all the great Americans gathered in this room have the background and the training to be able to fill those jobs is a testament to your commitment to hardworking Americans.
I know you're hard on this. I know that you're a President who believes that all honest work is honorable. And your commitment to skills education, to vocational education is a testament to your determination to make the American economy great again for every American.
So I want to thank your daughter, but I want to invite everyone here to say "thank you"
to you one more time for your commitment to America's workers. (Applause.)
And I think that's a perfect segue into hearing from Jim. Jim is the CEO of Toyota. And just this past year, based on the policies put in place by this administration - tax reform, deregulation - Toyota announced a $13 billion commitment to investment in North America, which is going to create 600 new jobs. Very, very exciting. (Applause.) So thank you, Jim, for that.
In March of this past year, I had the privilege of traveling to Kentucky and seeing the largest car plant in North America and also explore some of the great training programs. And there, Jim signed the Pledge to America's Workers: 200,000 pledge training opportunities. And with him today is Shameka, who I met in Kentucky. And it would be great to hear from both of you. Maybe, Jim, if you want to kick us off.
That'd be great. Thank you very much. You know, first off, congratulations on this milestone. After one year, that's tremendous. And thank you very much for visiting our plant in Kentucky. It meant a lot to our team members. And, in fact, that plant is now the number-one Toyota plant in the world. So we're very excited about that.
And we've made two major commitments to our team members. Number one is the $13 billion. That's - thank you, Mr. President, for having such a strong economy for allowing us to be able to do that. And that's $13 billion is not only for the new plant in Alabama and the new headquarters we built in Texas, but it's really to spend dollars in the areas of R&D and in all of our plants to make sure that our plants are the most competitive Toyota plants in the world.
But, number two, and the reason we're here today: It's all about the development of our team members. And whether it's development of the technicians in our dealerships or the development within manufacturing, that's probably what I'm most excited about. And it's - and Shameka is going to tell you in just a few minutes about her experience and her journey through that.
But we committed 200,000. To date, we have already trained 18,000 of our team members. And it's as a result of what was developed in Kentucky that allowed us to work with 27 now, across the country - 27 community colleges across 11 states. So every location that we are building cars, we have this relationship for training.
And that's enough about me because this is really about Shameka today. So, Shameka has been with us for about two years in our Kentucky plant. She's a U.S. veteran. And we'd love to hear about your journey.
Thank you. It's an honor to be here. My name is Shameka Green. I am a team member at Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky. I joined Toyota about two years ago with no automotive experience. Luckily, I served four years in the U.S. Army prior to entering the workforce. (Applause.) The Army equipped me with leadership skills, a sense of resilience, and discipline. And I was able to translate those skills onto the shop floor.
And Toyota, like the military, invested in me, and they - my supervisors encouraged me to take on new challenges and also provided opportunities for me to take advanced training courses.
So, in just two short years, I have taken on more responsibility, I have expanded my skillset, and been able to transition into more superior positions. So I am grateful that Toyota has taken the pledge to American workers, because it reassures me that Toyota will continue to invest in me. And as we come upon change in the future, Toyota will help me be prepared for those changes. Thank you. (Applause.)
Amazing. With us also is Johnny, from Orlando, Florida. And Johnny is a prep cook with Aloft Hotels, and just has an amazing story. And part of your journey and your training experience was a result of the American Hotel and Lodging Association's signing of our pledge.
So if you could share with us, Johnny, a bit about your story - very inspiring - and the opportunity that the pledge has afforded you.
First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone here today for allowing me to be here and also inviting me to speak amongst you guys.
The hospitality industry is an industry where dreams come true and support systems are willing to support. As for myself, being the youngest of four siblings, I was raised by my grandmother, which led me to want to cook in life and lead on her legacy. (Laughter.)
And Johnny's grandmother is here, and it's her birthday. (Laughs.)
Read the full transcript HERE.
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