First lady Jill Biden visited Denver on Monday morning to begin a tour highlighting the Biden administration’s economic policies.
“ (President Joe Biden’s) administration has already announced more than a billion dollars to improve the roads and bridges and roadway safety and major projects right here in Colorado. And he’s investing hundreds of millions of dollars in clean energy efforts here,” Biden told Gov. Jared Polis and lawmakers during a stop at the Capitol.
The four prominent federal laws Jill Biden is focusing on are the American Recovery Plan Act, the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS act.
Biden, who teaches at a community college, spent much of her remarks speaking about education and job training. She said many of the jobs that will be created by those federal policies will require workers who have associate’s degrees, apprenticeships and education other than a four-year college degree.
“For most people, a high school diploma alone isn’t enough to find a great career, right? But they often don’t need that four-year diploma to follow their passion,” she said. “A lot of high school students don’t necessarily know how to get from earning their high school diplomas to earning a living, and they may not even know what roles are out there. And that’s why learning that’s connected to careers is the heart of the Biden education pathway.”
Colorado lawmakers recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide free training for in-demand jobs in areas like construction and firefighting. It is modeled after the Care Forward Colorado program, which covers the cost for certain health care training programs. That program was paid for using federal money.
Biden heard from students who benefited from Care Forward Colorado who said the financial support allowed them to more seriously focus on their studies. She said that community colleges and “career-connected learning” will be a priority in the Biden administration’s 2024 budget.
A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, many in leadership positions, shared what they see as important educational needs in the state.
“It’s incredibly important that we’re using our taxpayer funds in a way that’s appropriate and helps leverage the American Rescue Plan Act dollars, which are also taxpayer funds, in a way that’s really responsible and helping to lift these students up so that they can be an in-demand workforce,” Rep. Rose Pugliese, a Colorado Springs Republican, said.
Biden will next travel to Vermont and Maine this week. Her flight to Michigan this morning was rerouted back to Denver due to an “aircraft issue,” according to a pool report.