President barack obama speaks to a minnesota crowd at the Honeywell Golden Valley Facility on June 6, 2012. (Photo by nancy Wong)
By J. LEE
AAP staff writer
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — As Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama reinforced his focus on helping veterans stating, “I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home.”
From Honeywell’s Golden Valley manufacturing plant, with a motto of “America built to last,” Obama urged Congress to act on his To Do List which included creating a Veterans Jobs Corps of veterans, especially post 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, and a “We can’t wait initiative” that helps veterans qualify for jobs by counting military experience for certifications, licenses, and jobs.
This response is based on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council’s report, Military Skills for America’s Future: Leveraging Military Service and Experience to Put Veterans and Military Spouses Back to Work.
Obama introduced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership that identifies emerging technologies with the potential to create high-quality manufacturing jobs and advance the U.S. in the global market. He also addressed the Joining Forces initiative of private companies hiring 100,000 post 9/11 veterans and spouses, and 200,000 veterans overall, Honeywell has hired 900 veterans.
Coming out of the Great Recession and worst financial crisis since the Great Depression where eight million jobs were lost and survival meant bailing out financial institutions, businesses, and homeowners in the markets that crashed, about 4.3 million jobs were created under President Obama. He said that “it has not been fast enough” to cover the job layoffs of 800,000 the month he took office and the three million before he was inaugurated.
The recent down turn in global economy is also making recovery slow. Obama called on Congress to pass a legislation that prevents more layoffs, puts thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers back to work, creates jobs for 200,000 more people, and brings overseas jobs back to America.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force identified barriers of skilled workers needing civilian credentialing and licensing for comparable expertise and training and areas as manufacturing, engineering, welding, machining, emergency medical responders and technicians, healthcare, information technology, transportation and logistics.
Congressman Tim Walz said he has legislation that will cover credentialing, licensing and training of housing professionals that APAHC rep said was needed and it’s “broader than what the President spoke on.”
Obama’s initiative removes the red tape that will allow 126,000 service members to get into manufacturing jobs and builds on the “Skills for America’s Future” partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers goal of 500,000 community college students with industry credentials.
In a partnership with the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, the military will have a pilot program to provide free training and credentialing. The American Welding Society and National Institute of Metalworking Skills is partnering with the Army to provide unlimited certification testing. Certifications will allow hiring without an additional two-year degree.
The Veterans Corps jobs include environment and natural resources as restoring the habitats, eradicating invasive species, operating facilities, protecting cultural resources, and construction on infrastructures and schools.
Obama’s To Do List for Congress, includes investing in research and development, science and technology, education reform and more funds for higher education, cutting taxes and providing tax credit for new hires for small businesses to grow and create high paying jobs, creating jobs by investing in affordable Clean Energy, rewarding American jobs, doubling exports, innovating and selling American products, eliminating tax incentives for jobs overseas, cutting taxes for middle-class families, cutting the red tape so responsible homeowners can refinance their mortgages and benefit by up to $3,000 per year.
It also calls for protecting Social Security and Medicare, and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share in a plan that Obama said reduced the deficit by $4 trillion while paying for job-creating investments. In connecting to the people, Obama said he wanted to “make sure that we keep Wall Street reform that will prevent the kinds of shenanigans that got us into this mess in the first place…because that’s going to be part of how we create an economy.
Healthcare reform under Obama, increased healthcare to 30 million people who didn’t have it, kept young people on their parent’s plan, and provided seniors discounted prescription drugs.
In his Paycheck Fairness Act, Obama said it’s equal pay for equal work where women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns can get parity for the same work. He said ethnic women earn less than 70 cents. He said this would help single mothers and female heads of households who pay for childcare, tuition, rent, mortgages and other loans.
“Congress is not going to act because I said it’s important,” Obama said. “They’re going to act because you guys are making your voices heard and they have to know you’re holding them accountable.”
Obama’s message to Congress was that “now is not the time to play politics. Now is not the time to sit on your hands. The American people expect their leaders to work hard no matter what year it is. The economy still isn’t where it needs to be. There are steps that could make a difference right now — steps that can also serve as a buffer in case the situation in Europe gets any worse.”
Addressing the veterans and people, Obama stated that, “just like you fought for us, we’ll keep fighting for you for more jobs, more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong — because you’ll help us keep America on top in the 21st century. We’re going to keep fighting, just as you did, to show just why it is that the United State of America is the greatest nation on Earth. God bless you. God bless America.”
In a crowd of over 1,700, Honeywell employees and invited guests heard some of same points as those attending Obama’s sold-out $5,000 lunch and $40,000 and $50,000 roundtable discussions. The three fundraisers raising $1.8 million were held at the Bachelor Restaurant in Minneapolis, owned and run by Eric and Andrew Dayton, sons of Governor Mark Dayton.
In the sea of Honeywell employees and high security, the few Asians could only express their excitement about being able to see and hear the President.
On June 8 at the White House, Obama will discuss issues affecting the Asia Pacific region with the President of the Philippines. On June 14, President Obama travels to the World Trade Center site for a ceremony.