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Joe Biden (center) leads a discussion about ensuring worker
success across America at the Knight Conference
Center in the Newseum in Washington.
Former U.S. Vice President and University of Delaware alumnus Joe
Biden led a discussion about ensuring worker success across America on
Thursday, March 22, at the Knight Conference Center in the Newseum in
At the event presented by UDs Biden Institute,
leaders from higher education, business, advocacy and the policy sector
gathered to tackle the issue of helping workers in the age of
automation, ensuring a stable middle class. The event was live streamed
and can be seen on UDs YouTube channel.
UD President Dennis Assanis welcomed the audience, introduced the
panel and noted that 2018 is the 10-year anniversary of the Great
Over the past decade, many good jobs have disappeared or changed
significantly, but at the same time many others have been created,
Assanis said. As we continue to move forward through that chapter in
American history, we look ahead to the exciting innovation that will
impact our lives and shape tomorrow's economy. At the University of
Delaware, we are in fact making discoveries that have the potential to
change the world and continue to drive progress in our economy.
Although some people fear innovation will negatively affect jobs,
Assanis said, proper policies are the answer to ensure growth for
workers in the future.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
UD President Dennis Assanis welcomes the audience, saying that with proper policies in place, innovation will help ensure growth for American jobs and success for workers in the future.
Were working on developing these solutions as well, and at the
forefront of all of those are the Biden Institute and the School of Public Policy and Administration, Assanis said.
Biden began his remarks by thanking the University for giving him the space to pursue this mission.
I want to acknowledge and thank Dr. Assanis for giving me the
opportunity to set up this institute at the University of Delaware to
work on a whole range of domestic issues, Biden said.
To put workers first, we have three promises to keep, said Biden.
First, we need to make sure hard-working Americans have the skills and
opportunities to succeed in the jobs of the future. Second, we need to
make sure people are paid fairly for their work meaning those who work
hard and do their part should share in the benefits from their
contributions, allowing them to earn a good living and get ahead. And
third, we need policies that allow the middle class to maintain or
improve their standard of living. A small pay raise doesnt help much if
the costs of housing, health care and education are rising
To address the first of these three promises, the Biden Institute put forward details
regarding how all of us Democrats and Republicans, business and labor
leaders, employers and workers can work together to ensure
hard-working Americans have the skills and opportunities to get a good
job and keep it.
Joining Biden in the discussion for the event, titled Quality Jobs
for American Workers, were Tom Donohue, the president and CEO of the
United States Chamber of Commerce; Justin Fairfax, lieutenant governor
of Virginia; Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George's Community
College; and Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at
the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Biden invited the panelists
to challenge his ideas based on their experiences in their areas of
expertise and opened the discussion.
Boushey said that an individuals job prospects and success are
influenced by race and gender, so solutions must take those into
Innovators can come from any part of the country, but if you come
from a poor family or if youre a woman a little girl and youre smart
and have the talent to be that kind of person thats going to add to
the economy youre obstructed at some point along the pathway,
Boushey said. That damages the economy for all of us.
Fairfax highlighted the role community colleges play in offering
opportunities for people to learn new skills, get training and earn
certificates. Dukes, whose community college is in suburban Washington,
said her college has partnered with primary schools in the area to
create clear pathways to future employment.
Donohue said policymakers must remember that people seeking jobs or
better jobs live in various locales. He suggested that some people feel
frozen in towns with few job opportunities, either because they cant
leave or do not want to leave. Jobs need to be more appealing for them.
The economy cannot improve without the workforce behind it, he said.
In closing, Biden thanked the panelists and reiterated his commitment
to addressing the issues around worker success because they are so
essential to American communities.
Were going to have a lot of chances to discuss this and a lot of
other issues over the next year, Biden said. This is just the
Assisting the vice president and the Biden Institute as they move
forward with this and other policy challenges is a new policy board
was announced in conjunction with the event. The board is comprised of
some of the most important voices on pressing issues facing America
today, including the panelists from the event and other leaders from
industry, education, advocacy and policy sectors.
Joe Biden has been a leader for working Americans for his entire
career, said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees
International Union. I am thrilled to join the Policy Advisory Board at
the Biden Institute and look forward to working with Vice President
Biden to find solutions that will help working people unite so they can
use their power in numbers.
Led by Founding Chair former Vice President Joe Biden,
the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware's School of Public
Policy and Administration is a research and policy center working to
bring together the sharpest minds and the most powerful voices to
influence, shape and solve the most pressing domestic policy problems
Article by UD staff; photos by Evan Krape