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In visit to Madison, Vice President Kamala Harris touts apprenticeship programs, creating good-paying union jobs

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Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to Madison earlier this year. (Photo by Omar Waheed)

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Madison on Wednesday to reaffirm the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding apprenticeship programs and creating good-paying jobs.

The vice president, joined by Secretary of Labor Julie Su and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, spoke at the Metro Transit Satellite Bus Facility on Madison’s East Side where the the City is expanding its Metro Transit bus services thanks to federal funding for a major $16 million remodel project to support the City’s new electric bus fleet.

Vice President Harris discussed ongoing efforts on clean energy infrastructure and announced a new executive order to expand registered apprenticeships.  

“Today, one of the announcements that we are making and the President has made in Washington is that we have now issued — and the President has issued — an executive order, an EO, that will direct federal agencies to explore what federal jobs we have that can be filled by the highly skilled folks who work — who have been trained in apprenticeship programs and not just giving these jobs only to people with a four-year college degree,” Vice President Harris said.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Metro Transit Satellite Bus Facility on Wednesday.
(Photo by Omar Waheed)

The new executive order aims to help create more registered apprenticeship programs in the federal workforce and encourages agencies to provide preference on projects that receive federal grants and contracts for recipients that hire individuals in registered apprenticeship programs.

“The work that is happening here really is a wonderful example of so many of our administration’s priorities, including the important collaboration between us at the federal level and leaders at the local level, like the mayor of Madison, because this work that we see behind us is a function of that partnership around how we can get federal dollars out to local governments and local communities in a way that they, then, invest in the talent of the community,” Harris said. “And so, it is an example, then, of partnership.

“It is also an example of the fact that when we invest in the American people, including the American worker, everyone benefits.”

This was the vice president’s second trip to Wisconsin this year and sixth trip to the state since being sworn in. Last month, Harris kicked off her nationwide “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour with a speech in Waukesha County on Jan. 22 – 51 years to the day that Roe v. Wade was decided.

In Harris’ visit in Aug. 2023 in Pleasant Prairie, she touted the administration’s efforts to invest high-speed in domestic manufacturing and job creation in communities across the United States.

This year, the Biden-Harris administration has been touring the country to highlight and increase efforts of unions and apprenticeships.

In her latest stop in Madison, Harris emphasized efforts to expand infrastructure across the United States and highlighted work done in Madison under Mayor Rhodes-Conway.

Vice President Kamala Harris
(Photo by Omar Waheed)

“The work she’s doing here in Madison is really an example of what has happened in local communities around the country, which is to invest in the infrastructure, to do the public-private partnership, to do the partnership with the federal government and expand public transit in a way that would be to the benefit of all working people,” Harris said.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway noted the importance of engaging in the public-private partnership to rebuild infrastructure and create more jobs. The investments from the federal government are critical to revitalizing Madison’s infrastructure, Rhodes-Conway said.

“It is hundreds of millions of dollars that are coming into our economy that are paying the salaries of folks that you see behind us, and then reverberating throughout our economy,” Rhodes-Conway said. “I just cannot state how important it is to have a partner in the White House who believes in cities, who, as the vice president, believes in investing in cities and the work that we’re doing — not just here in Madison.”