First Lady Jill Biden (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH — First Lady Jill Biden told a gathering of elected officials and union members here on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration had kept pledges made during the 2020 campaign to bolster the region’s workforce and create more jobs.
“Two years ago, my husband stood in at the Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center and announced that he planned to make the largest investment in infrastructure since the interstate highway —and that union workers would be at the heart of this effort – that he would revitalize roads, bridges and schools,” Biden said. “And yes, this very airport. And he’s kept his promise.”
It was Biden’s latest stop on the Investing in America tour, after a visit to Augusta, Georgia earlier in the day, and a trip to Columbus last week. The cities are among five regional workforce hubs the White House identified in May, along with Baltimore and Phoenix, intended to train employees for in-demand jobs.
Pittsburgh was selected as a hub city because of its advanced manufacturing industry, including robotics. The Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative, a nonprofit coalition, received a $62.7 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development Association last year to expand the region’s robotics cluster.
“Through this initiative, we’re focusing on key cities that have received significant investments from both the federal government and private companies,” Biden said on Tuesday at the construction site for the Neighborhood 91 site near Pittsburgh International Airport. It’s being built as a hub for additive manufacturing.
“Here, that means thousands of jobs strengthening and rebuilding Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, including modernizing Pittsburgh’s airport where we’re standing right now,” Biden continued.
That has meant working with local government, colleges and employers, she added, “to develop new training pathways and good careers created by those public and private investments.”
Pittsburgh International Airport is in the midst of a $1.4 billion construction project to build a new terminal, slated for completion in 2025. “The $20 million federal investment in modernizing this terminal is going to generate $2.5 billion in economic activity, using made-in-America steel,” Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su told the gathering.
Biden and Su were joined by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.
“This is what we do, we bring people together to create jobs, particularly these jobs that’s going to remove the barriers for the next generation to have opportunities that we haven’t seen before,” Gainey said.
President Biden will be in Philadelphia on Thursday to continue this summer’s “Bidenomics” push, continuing efforts to highlight some of the successes of his administration’s first term ahead of the 2024 election.
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