First Lady Jill Biden was in Valparaiso Monday, touting the Biden Administration's career training efforts. She met with students and faculty in Ivy Tech Community College's renewable energy program, who demonstrated what they've learned in the fields of electric line technology, wind energy and solar energy.
The first lady, herself a community college professor, said those schools are a big part of her husband's efforts to rebuild the middle class. “This program is giving them good-paying jobs and protecting the planet for the next generation,” Biden said.
Lane Seibert was one of the students who got to speak with the first lady. She said she's happy to be able to get the education she needs to pursue her passion. "There's really no comparison for that, the joy you experience when your getting an education to pursue a future that you have dreamed out your entire life," Seibert said.
The first lady was joined by a number of federal and local officials.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk said the move to renewable energy represents a historic opportunity. “You can have a great job. You can be secure in the job expansion going forward. You can help your community, communities across this country and you can save the planet at the same time. That is a pretty cool, pretty cool deal,” Turk added.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su, President Joe Biden's nominee for labor secretary, said Biden has delivered on his promise to invest in things like infrastructure and energy, creating "good union jobs" in the process. "And a lot of people are asking, 'Are we going to have the workforce to do those jobs?' And the answer is yes, as long as we make sure they are good, quality jobs and that there are effective pathways so that every community has a chance to get those jobs," Su said.
The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $95 million to community colleges since September 2022, including $1.6 million to Indiana's Ivy Tech campuses.
U.S. Representative Frank Mrvan (D-Highland) said Monday's event at Ivy Tech highlights the opportunities available in Northwest Indiana but also pushed for more federal investment. He continued his calls for BP's Whiting refinery to be designated a clean hydrogen hub.
"And I invite the deputy secretary and secretary of energy to come see our grit and know-how because that is a billion-dollar project at BP that can transform all of Ivy Tech, and I want to compete for that, [for] those nine awards," Mrvan added.