Machinists Union Applauds Obama Career Training Proposal

Washington, D.C., February 25, 2009 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today applauded President Barack Obama’s remarks about the need for lawmakers and educators to work together to give Americans the vocational training they will need to survive and thrive in the new economy.

In a frank and detailed speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama outlined programs and goals he said are essential to rebuilding the U.S. economy, including providing the option for a year or more of technical career training for every American.

“It is our responsibility as lawmakers and as educators to make this system work,” declared President Obama. “But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. So tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship.”

The president’s proposal echoes goals set by the IAM more than 16 months ago, when they launched America’s Edge; Our Skills, Our Kids,’ a campaign to draw attention to the absence of skills training opportunities for young people seeking an alternative to a traditional four-year college education.

“The need for sophisticated skills training programs is even greater now than it was a year and a half ago,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “An entire generation of highly skilled workers is preparing to retire. Without a means to train the next generation, we will face a high-skills deficit that will put our nation and our economy at a serious disadvantage. The president is absolutely correct to give this issue the high priority it deserves.”