Skip to page content
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
Bookmark and Share

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks for Secretary Hilda L. Solis
Apprenticeship Event
National Mall,
Washington, DC,
Monday, June 6, 2011

Good morning everyone! Buenos dias!

Thank you for joining me to celebrate this wonderful American tradition...

100 Years of Registered Apprenticeship!!

It's great to have you here this morning.

We have some wonderful guests with us, and I just want to make mention of them very quickly:

First off we have Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades. Mark thank you for being here.

And thank you to James Boland, President of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

And I like to especially note that Ed Hill, President of the IBEW is here. Thank you, Ed.

And thank you to Lonnie Coleman, President and CEO of the "Coleman-Spawn" Corporation,

Kenneth Ringmaiden of the Painters Union is also here. Thanks for being here Kenneth.

And to all of the industry leaders who have joined us here this morning, thank you.

I'd also like to recognize our colleagues here from other Federal Agencies, thank you for being here.

But I have to say, the real VIP's are the young men and women that are here...

The young people working in registered apprenticeships, Youth Build, and Job Corps students here with us that are getting the skills they need to re-build this country!

Let's give them a round of applause!

You know, I've traveled all across the country and I've seen the incredible "state-of-the-art" training that joint apprenticeships can provide...

And I've witnessed the incredible partnerships that labor and management have created...

But today, I wanted to bring it here, to the National Mall...

A place that reminds us of that great American promise — that opportunity belongs to everyone, and that this is a country where we commit that anyone who will work hard can MAKE IT for themselves and for their families.

That's really what we're celebrating today.

We celebrate an American tradition of providing opportunity to people that need it the most.

Registered apprenticeships continue to provide first-rate training, which afford good jobs with decent pay, so that people can support their families and make into the middle-class.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: joint apprenticeships are "one of this country's best kept secrets."

And today, with all of it on display, we're going to let that secret out!

In training centers across the country, labor and industry leaders are matching skills so that people who get trained can have a clear and direct pathway to meaningful career in the 21st century.

Together, their working to create a workforce that meets the needs of 21st century employers — a workforce ready for the 21st century.

This is a labor-management partnership that's truly investing in the American people, and it's one that works!

Folks, that's how we out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate our competitors for another 100 years!

I've traveled across the country and I'm hearing from all kinds of employers.

They tell me they need skilled welders...

They tell me they need good electricians...

They tell me they need workers with these kinds of hard skills...

And I am so proud that joint apprenticeships continue to step up to the plate by leverage hundreds of millions of dollars to provide those skills.

We need to continue to provide on the job training opportunities to vulnerable populations, to our troubled youth, Veterans, women, and ex-offenders...

We need to continue to foster partnerships between community-based organizations, education, and the workforce systems.

And Mark (Ayers), thank you for your leadership! You are my partner in Good Jobs for Everyone.

And we need to continue to be strategic about matching skills and creating a direct pipeline that connects apprentices to employers...

But to truly win the future we need to focus our training not only in existing industries, but more heavily into new and emerging ones, too...

We need to nurture skills in healthcare, broadband and IT so that we can continue to create job growth in those industries...

And we need to continue to provide training for green jobs... jobs that boost local economies reduce our dependence on oil, and re-build our middle class...

Apprentices can and should be the people that build 21st century roads and high speed rail...

They should be the ones installing solar panels and other green technologies...

That's what the President means and that's how we win the future!

A better, more competitive and more prosperous economy is in everyone's interest.

And apprenticeships are an incredible example of what can be achieved when the private sector, the public sector and organized labor come together...

Creativity is better tapped, innovation becomes inevitable, and everyone becomes a valued part of the process.

These kinds of joint ventures will continue to be critical to building a workforce that is ready to re-build America in the 21st century.

And I am so thankful to all of you here who share that belief and are working to make sure it happens.

I look forward to visiting all of the mobile training units here and to hearing all of your ideas to create another 100 years of apprenticeship success!

Thank you.