Tampa Bay Technical High School
Tampa Bay, Florida
6:18 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. What a group. Thank you. Thank you, Governor. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
Well, thank you, Ivanka, for the introduction. It is my daughter, so she should probably give me a good introduction — I was counting on that — (laughter) — and for the incredible leadership that you’ve shown with the White House Workforce Initiative. You really have been incredible, Ivanka. Thank you.
It’s great to be back in Florida. I love Florida. We had a great victory in Florida, and we’re going to have a lot of great victories in Florida in the coming short period of time. (Applause.) And we’re honored to be joined — speaking of victory — by your tremendous Governor. He’s a tremendous guy. He’s a friend of mine for a long time. He works really hard. He’s really smart and get he gets it. And he loves this state, he loves this country — Rick Scott. (Applause.) Fantastic.
Rick has been a true leader in expanding access to demand-driven skills training, helping countless Floridians find steady jobs and rewarding their careers. And he loves doing it.
Also with us is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Where’s Betsy? Betsy. Hi, Betsy. (Applause.) Good job. Congressman Gus Bilirakis. (Applause.) Congressman, thank you. He’s a big help to us. And here’s another help. You ever watch this guy on television? He’s like a machine. He’s great. Matt Gaetz. (Applause.) Great guy. And my good friend, Paula White, Pastor White. (Applause.) Paula? Thank you. Ah, there you are, Paula. Thank you, Paula. What a great job you do. The Evangelicals. I hear we’re more popular than ever with Evangelicals. You’re the only one — and she’ll tell the truth. She’ll only tell the truth. But I appreciate everything you’ve done. We had tremendous turnout in the election, and I hear even more so now because we fulfilled our promises, haven’t we?
I’m thrilled to be here at Tampa Bay Technical High School, and grateful to Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Principal Michael Ippolito. Michael, did I do well? (Applause.) Did I do better than the Governor? (Laughs.) Thank you, Michael. They’ve done an incredible job. And I appreciate your hosting us very much. Thank you.
We’re also here to discuss a issue I feel very strongly about: vocational education. Whether you’re a high school student or a late-career worker, there has never been a better time to learn a trade, hone a skill, or pursue your dreams. Never been a better time. We’ve never had a better time for hiring in this country.
Last quarter, our GDP, as you know, grew to 4.1 percent. And I think it’s going to go a lot higher than that. (Applause.) And very importantly, a number that people aren’t talking about, because most people don’t quite get it, but we had a $52 billion trade deficit reduction — which, people, is — you know, I will tell you, that’s a lot. That’s for the quarter. (Applause.) They were saying that one is not even possible. And we’re going to do even better next quarter.
We created 3.7 million new jobs since the election. A number that was unthinkable. Unemployment recently fell to the lowest level in a half a century. What sounds better? A half a century or 50 years? I don’t know. I think half a century, right? (Applause.) If I had a choice. In the month of June alone, 600,000 workers entered or reentered the workforce — 600,000.
To continue this momentum, we recently established the National Council for the American Worker to develop a national workforce strategy. And we launched a new campaign: Our Pledge to American Workers. And that’s what we want. It’s our pledge.
In less than two weeks, Ivanka has worked with CEOs and leaders to get companies and associations across the United States to pledge to train and retrain over 4 million American students and workers. This bold initiative — (applause) — true. And that’s a number we hit so far. It started off — we wanted to do 500,000. That’s a lot. And it just grew and grew. And instead of 500,000, it turned out to be 4 million American students and workers. Four million. And it’s going a lot higher than that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Wow.
THE PRESIDENT: “Wow” is right. Who said that? (Laughter.)
This bold initiative is all being done through the private sector and private sector investment. Earlier today, 49 Florida businesses have signed our pledge to create apprenticeships and on-the-job training for more than 155,000 Floridians. (Applause.) So, Governor, that helps. Right?
These companies and associations include many great businesses that are here with us today. I’d love you to stand and — some of the top executives from these incredible companies like Airbus — Airbus. Honeywell. There you are. Honeywell. (Applause.) Eastern Shipbuilding — great company. KPMG. National Electric — (applause) — yes, thank you. National Electrical Contractors Association, tremendous force. Firehouse Subs. (Applause.) Leonardo DRS. OneWeb Satellites. SAP Software. And that’s a great company, by the way; a friend of mine is running it. Tampa Tank. Along with many others.
We have a lot of people here today, and they’ll be with us in about two hours, when we’re making a speech in front of a lot of thousands of people, and they’re lined up outside.
I also want to thank Governor Scott for signing the pledge to expand vocational training opportunities to ensure that Floridians of all ages and all backgrounds are able to acquire the skills they need to thrive in this incredibly booming economy. And we’re going to keep it booming. (Applause.)
And just this morning, I was very proud to sign a new and improved Perkins Career and Technical Education Act into law. That was a big deal. They’ve been trying to do it for many years, as I understand it. Many, many years.
That’s like, with the vets — we signed Choice, and we did something that nobody thought. That’s when you stand in line for weeks and weeks and weeks trying to see a doctor, and you can’t; they’re just not there. And you’re able to go outside — immediately go outside — to a private doctor. And you get it done, and we pay for the vets’ bill. These are our great people; we take care of them. (Applause.) So, not so much different.
Now, more than 11 million students and workers will have greater access to better training and more jobs. This bill languished for years in Congress. With the help of Ivanka and Governor Scott, and many others who joined us for the ceremony today. And I also want to thank Senator Marco Rubio — he’s been fantastic — and Congressman Gaetz. I’ll tell you, Congressman, you, and Congressman Bilirakis have been really incredible. We would not have done it without them. We would not. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Could not have done it without them.
In a few moments, I will sign a copy of the Perkins Act as a gift to Tampa Bay Technical High School. (Applause.)
So here with us today is a proud graduate — a real winner — of Tampa Bay Tech, David Thompson-Calderon, who is now a very skilled pipe welder. Making a lot of money, too, David. Right? David, can you come up here and just share a little bit of your story? Because it’s a great story. (Applause.)
David? Where are you, David?
THOMPSON-CALDERON: Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate it. How are you doing, everybody? My name is David Thompson, and I went to Tech in 2014. I graduated. And my experience at Tech was so wonderful — the faculty, the teachers. It was just such a great experience. And they really pushed me. And, Mr. Ivey, I thank you so much. You really pushed me. (Applause.)
Mr. Ivey and my dad, they told me — so much things to learn. And I was running track, and my senior year I injured myself. And luckily, I had the opportunity to fall back on welding. And I was working in the shipyard for a little while. And I went to travel; I went to Texas, Louisiana — everywhere.
I’m a pipe welder, and I’m telling this to the kids: You can have a trade and you can be successful. I make over six figures a year. I’m 23. (Applause.) I love it. Like I said, I love it. And to the parents that are watching, please get your kids to Tampa Bay Tech. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, David. Wow, that’s a great job. He’s doing well.
THE PRESIDENT: David, how much did you say? (Laughter.) That’s a lot of — that’s a lot of money. Great, David.
Also here with us today is Isabella Cruz, a rising senior at Tampa Bay Tech. Isabella is studying architecture and engineering.
And, Isabella, I’d love you to come and say a few words, because your story is a great one. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard it, and I’ve read it. It’s great. Come on up. (Applause.)
CRUZ: Hello, everyone. My name is Isabella Cruz, and today I’m here with my mom. We moved here when I was young, from Brooklyn, New York. And I have lived in Hillsborough County ever since then. I’m a rising senior, as you said, here at TBT. And I’m in the architecture and engineering program.
Just like you, Mr. President, I too am a president — well, the president of the architecture club at our school. (Laughter and applause.)
Anyway, Tampa Bay Tech is a school full of many opportunities. No one ever leaves TBT without an immense amount of knowledge on very important subjects, such as architecture and engineering, and even medical. The list goes on. Not only do you learn about your own program, but you also learn about others from your peers.
Going to a school like Tampa Bay Tech is a tremendous learning experience for any student. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling.
CRUZ: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Beautiful job, Isabella. Thank you, Isabella. Great future.
When we invest in our workers, we are investing in our people, we are investing in our communities, and we are investing in the American Dream. Make America great again — the American Dream. That’s what we’re doing. (Applause.)
Thanks again to all of the wonderful businesses here. These businesses have been fantastic. And they are great businesses. As you get older, you’ll know who these businesses are a little bit more. But they are some of the best in the world. And for signing our pledge.
And to all of the wonderful faculty students and graduates from Tampa Bay Tech: You’re going to have tremendous futures, I can say that.
Together, we will build new wonders, find new cures, master new industries, harness new technologies, and create new products stamped with those four really beautiful words: Made in the —
THE PRESIDENT: — USA. We’ll call that one word. (Applause.) Made in the USA. Made in America. What do you like better? Made in the USA or Made in America?
Okay, ready? USA. Okay. Made in America. Yeah? Close call, right? (Laughter.) Either one. Let’s take either one, all right? But that’s what’s happening.
I just want to again thank you all. This is an incredible place, incredible state — the state of Florida. And, Governor, congratulations on the great job you’ve done in shepherding everybody, and this incredible group of people with us today. We really appreciate it. Rick Scott, thank you very much.
And God bless you all. And God bless America. (Applause.) Thank you. I’m going to sign right now.
6:33 P.M. EDT