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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Joins First Lady Jill Biden, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in Announcing New Administration Initiative to Prepare Young Americans for the Careers of the Future

On Monday, November 14, First Lady Jill Biden, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success, a new Biden-Harris Administration initiative that will strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs. The announcement marked the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week and the 85th Anniversary of the National Apprenticeship Act.

With the support of the $120 billion dollars dedicated to K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Administration is ensuring the next generation is building the skills necessary to fill high-paying jobs like those created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act.

Following the announcement, the First Lady, Secretary Raimondo, Secretary Walsh, and Secretary Cardona met with students who are enrolled in a career-connected learning program at Rolling Meadows High School. There they learned about the school’s Engineering and Manufacturing pathways program and viewed the student’s work on high-mileage vehicles and robotics. The group later hosted a discussion with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Rolling Meadows Principal Eileen Hart on the school’s Career Pathways program. 

The First Lady and the three Cabinet Secretaries later delivered remarks at Aon in downtown Chicago and highlighted how Registered Apprenticeships programs and community colleges offer pathways to good-paying jobs, including in-demand corporate careers. This visit also showcased career pathways for all communities, particularly underrepresented communities, into corporate careers in key sectors of technology, finance, insurance, and banking.

“Here's the reality: the old style of “train and pray” doesn’t work, said Secretary Raimondo during her remarks. “We can’t just train folks and pray that they get jobs. We need businesses, unions, community colleges, high schools, the public sector – everyone – at the table to ensure that we are teaching the right skills to fill the jobs that are open today. It’s good for workers and it’s good for business.”

The Department of Commerce’s mission is to create the conditions for economic growth and opportunity for all communities. Essential to that mission is the need to build sustainable, employer-driven career pathways to meet employers’ need for talent and to connect Americans to quality jobs. Click here for more information.

Click here to read President Biden’s Proclamation on National Apprenticeship Week, 2022.