Machinists Applaud Presidents Vocational Training Initiative


Washington, D.C., May 8, 2009 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today welcomed the education and re-training proposals outlined by President Barack Obama following the news that the U.S. economy lost another 539,000 jobs in April.

“Not only does the president’s proposal bring hope to more than 25 million unemployed and underemployed Americans, it also re-establishes career education and skills training as the national resources they deserve to be,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “The value and importance of supporting a new generation of skilled workers in this country cannot be understated.” 

In remarks delivered today, President Obama set a goal of re-establishing America as the nation with the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The focus extends to training provided by community colleges and apprenticeship programs in addition to traditional four-year colleges. 

“In the weeks to come, I will lay out a fundamental rethinking of our job training, vocational education and community college programs,” said Obama. “It’s time to move beyond the idea that we need several different programs to address several different problems – we need one comprehensive policy that addresses our comprehensive challenges.” 

The president also named community college professor Dr. Jill Biden to oversee a national effort to raises awareness about the value of the nation’s community college system. 

The IAM is among the nation’s largest industrial trade unions, representing nearly 700,000 active and retired members under more than 5,000 contracts in aerospace, transportation, shipbuilding and defense-related industries. For more information, visit