Statement from Robert Espinoza, CEO, National Skills Coalition, on President Biden’s State of the Union Address

March 08, 2024

Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Robert Espinoza, CEO at National Skills Coalition, in response to President Biden’s State of the Union address, delivered on March 7, 2024:

Last night, President Biden elevated our nation’s workforce in his State of the Union Address by signaling the immense opportunities presented by apprenticeships, infrastructure investments, small businesses, racial equity, and supportive services like childcare and home care.

The President rightfully highlighted his administration’s historic, large-scale investments in clean energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure. These investments have begun transforming the landscape and creating millions of jobs, especially for workers without a bachelor’s degree.

However, to realize this infrastructure transition, we’ll need to fully resource our workforce to ensure that workers and businesses have access to the skills and training they need – including inclusive education and training programs through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, postsecondary education programs, and economic supports like childcare and transportation, especially for women and workers of color. New research commissioned by National Skills Coalition and BlueGreen Alliance shows that—without these programs and supports—these sectors will experience a labor shortage of 1.1 million workers.

President Biden said, “I’m also connecting local businesses and high schools, so students get hands-on experience and a path to a good-paying job, whether or not they go to college.” His comments acknowledge that millions of critical jobs in this country don’t need a college degree but still require significant skill requirements from shorter-term and on-the-job training programs. More than ever, we must value apprenticeship programs, quality short-term training programs and credentials, and career pathways that work best when created through industry partnerships involving high schools, community colleges, unions, and others.

President Biden’s remarks reinforced the reality that jobs requiring skills training are the backbone of our economy. Investing in inclusive, high-quality skills training and other workforce interventions ensures that people can access a better life and local businesses can experience sustained growth. We commend him for his vision and successes in this regard.

National Skills Coalition fights for inclusive, high-quality skills training so that people have access to a better life, and local businesses see sustained growth. We engage in analysis and technical assistance, organizing, advocacy, and communications to improve state and federal skills policies. Learn more at and follow us @skillscoalition.