- In the State of the Union address Feb. 7, President Joe Biden advocated supporting a bottom-up economy, bolstered by U.S.-based manufacturing and supply chains, domestically-sourced federal construction projects and empowered workers.
- The President encouraged offering career pathways to students, job training to veterans and routes to jobs for those without four-year degrees.
- He also touted protection from noncompete agreements, the right to organize, paid family and medical leave and a living wage.
Biden’s State of the Union address touched upon a range of workplace issues, from declining inflation to immigration reform to a historically low 3.4% unemployment rate.
He drilled down on the importance of regaining supply chain strength, so that events like COVID-19 and Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine wouldn’t leave U.S. manufacturers without options again.
“We can never let that happen again. That’s why we came together to pass the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act,” Biden said. “We're going to make sure the supply chain for America begins in America.”
The President estimated that the August 2022 law, which supports the production of semiconductors in the U.S., would “create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the country.”
His speech emphasized the importance of the middle class and building “an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.”
“Because when the middle class does well, the poor have a ladder up, and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well,” Biden said.
Part of building that middle class involves providing job pathways for students, he said.
“Let’s finish the job: connect students to career opportunities starting in high school and provide two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree,” Biden said.
And, for those already in the workforce, he encouraged legislators to pass the PRO Act to protect workers’ right to unionize, pushed for the end of noncompete agreements that limit workers’ mobility and earnings potential and advocated for paid family and medical leave.
“For too long, workers have been getting stiffed. But not anymore. We’re beginning to restore the dignity of work,” Biden said