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Roosevelt Room

11:19 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Thank you.  Good morning.  Thank you for all being here.  Before beginning today, I’d like to take a moment to again send our thoughts and prayers to my friend, and the friend of most of us in this room, Steve Scalise, and his great family as he continues his very brave fight.

It’s been much more difficult than people even thought at the time.  It’s been — he’s in some trouble, but he’s a great fighter and he’s going to be okay, we hope.

I visited Steve and his family at the hospital last night, and I reassured them that the entire country is pulling for them, praying for them, and that we are here for them every single step of the way.  America’s hearts — and we mean this in the truest sense — sends its love.  We got a lot of hearts in this country, great hearts, and they’re all sending their love and support to the Scalise Family.

And Steve, in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country.  We’ve had a very, very divided country for many years.  And I have a feeling that Steve has made a great sacrifice, but there could be some unity being brought to our country.  Let’s hope so.

While at the hospital, I also visited with Special Agent Crystal Griner — a terrific young woman — of the Capitol Police and her family.  Crystal is one of the two Capitol Police officers who saved so many lives through her heroism, along with Special Agent David Bailey.  They ran right into the fire.  They ran right into those guns and the bullets, and they saved a lot of lives.  America salutes both of their courage.  They have great, great courage.  We all salute them.

We also salute the men and women of the Alexandria Police, Fire and Rescue, and all of the first responders.  The timing and speed and the professionalism was incredible.  They performed with bravery and with skill.

Finally, our heartfelt prayers go out to Matt Mika, who was badly wounded in the assault.  To Matt’s family:  Anything you need, we are here for you.  Hopefully, Matt will be okay.

In these difficult hours, it’s more important than ever to help each other, care for each other, and remind each other that we are all united by our love of our great and beautiful country.

We’re joined today by Secretary Acosta, Secretary Ross, and Administrator McMahon as we prepare to make a historic announcement to train Americans for the jobs of the future.  We have a lot of companies moving into this country.  You see the unemployment rate is at a very, very low level.  Job enthusiasm and manufacturing, business enthusiasm is at record levels — never been higher.  A lot of good numbers are coming out, including almost $4 trillion in gain to the stock markets since the election — $4 trillion.  We just signed a big deal yesterday for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and military equipment going to be made in this country, in our country, for other countries.

We’ve got it going.  We have to make sure the people are here and they’re going to be well trained.

So I want to thank my daughter Ivanka and her leadership.  She has worked so hard on this.  She understands how important it is.  We’re training people to have great jobs and high-paying jobs.

And we’re here today to celebrate the dignity of work — it’s really a good term — dignity of work — and the greatness of the American worker, which I’ve been celebrating for a long time.  Probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the American worker.

And the American worker sees what’s happening in Michigan and in Ohio and in a lot of places that we’ve had a huge impact on just in a short period of time that I’ve been here and this administration has been involved.  We have a lot of companies moving in, a lot of plants are going to be built.  A lot of plants are being expanded, and big ones are going to be announced very soon.  You’re going to hear some very big names that I can’t tell you about now.  We want to get them signed on the dotted line.  We don’t want to talk too quickly.  It’s called “sign them on the dotted line,” right?  (Laughter.)

In just a few moments, I’ll be signing an executive order to expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help all Americans find a rewarding career, earn a great living, and support themselves and their families, and love going to work in the morning.

We will be removing federal restrictions that have prevented many different industries from creating apprenticeship programs.  We have regulations on top of regulations.  And in history, nobody has gotten rid of so many regulations at the Trump administration.  And that’s one of the reasons that you see the jobs and the companies all kicking in so strongly.  I think some very good numbers are going to be announced, by the way, in the very near future as to GDP.

So we’re empowering these companies, these unions, industry groups, federal agencies to go out and create new apprenticeships for millions of our citizens.  Apprenticeships place students into great jobs without the crippling debt of traditional four-year college degrees.  Instead, apprentices earn while they learn — which is an expression we’re using:  Earn while you learn.

We’re joined today by apprentices who know firsthand how these programs can bring new hope and new opportunities.  We’re also joined by some of the country’s great governors, and I appreciate them very, very much for being here.  We just had a meeting in the Cabinet Room.

Charles Robel is here with us from Wisconsin, where I just left, actually, yesterday.  I was with Governor Walker.  Charles is a three-time combat veteran who bravely served our nation — highly respected.  After Charles came back from the war, he, like so many other Americans, faced very tough economic times.

Charles began taking machine tool operation courses from a technical college.  He immediately excelled.  He was really, really good at it, they say.  That’s what they say.  I haven’t checked.  (Laughter.)  Where is Charles?  Come here.  (Laughter.)  Charles, they tell me.  I haven’t checked it.  I want to check you out, all right?  (Laughter.)  But he immediately excelled. And by the end of his year-long apprenticeship, Charles will be making more than $60,000 a year and going up a lot higher than that.  And he loves what he does.  I think you really love it, right?  Yes, loves it.

Charles, we thank you for your service to a country — to our country, both in the military and in exactly what you’re doing right now, which is so important.  And we congratulate you on this exciting new career, and you’re going to have some great future.  Thank you, Charles, appreciate it.  (Applause.)

Each of the apprentices here today has their own story and their own dreams — that’s what they are — dreams.

Apprenticeships teach striving Americans the skills they need to operate incredible machines.  And some of these machines are so intricate, so powerful, and, really — the word is — they are incredible.  This is not the old days; this is new and computerized and complicated, and you really have to know what you’re doing.  But they create amazing products.  And to construct skyscrapers that touch the clouds. — I mean, you look at the equipment today, and just go back 10 years ago and 20 years ago, it’s from a different world, from a different planet.   It’s incredible.

I just met with the governors from many of the states to discuss how we can work with them to expand apprenticeships and the apprentice programs.  I’m also delighted to be here with CEOs of major companies who support our apprenticeship initiatives.   And we had a tremendous number of the biggest CEOs in the world here yesterday.  We talked about this also and they are fully behind it, including our effort to help millions of talented young American women thrive and flourish in our economy.

We are thrilled, as well, to have with us today Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, who care so deeply about this effort.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

The strength of our nation will be determined by our ability to keep jobs in America, and we’re going to keep them in America.   You’re not going to have companies fleeing like in the past.  There’s going to be a big price to pay for companies that want to leave, fire their workers, build a plant outside of this country, and think they’re going to sell their product right back into the United States.  There’s going to be a big price to pay.

But we want to keep jobs in America and we want to train people and hire American workers to fill those jobs.   And that’s exactly what we’re doing, and we’re really doing a job of it.  And I just want to thank all of our secretaries and everybody involved in the process.

Not only will our apprentices transform their lives, but they will also transform our lives in the truest sense.  Today’s apprentices will construct the roads and bridges that move our citizens, they will bend the metal and steel that shape our cities, and they will pioneer the new technology that drives our commerce.
But as we train the next generation of Americans to do their jobs, all of us here today have to do our jobs:  We have to join forces, join hands, and join together to restore the American Dream for all of our people.

And one of the parts of the American Dream is we’re going to come down very, very hard — and we already have; you’ve seen what’s going on the border — on this massive drug problem that we have in the United States and, frankly, that other countries have also.  And we’re coming down very, very hard on it.   And if we don’t, it’s called shame on us.

So everybody that has worked so hard on this program and everybody in this room, including the reporters, God bless you — (laughter) — God bless America.  And let’s go out and let’s do a really terrific job with the apprentice program.

Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.  Appreciate it.  (Applause.)

(The executive order is signed.)

11:33 A.M. EDT