From: Christopher Cadelago [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 3:16 PM
To: Pietranton, Kelsey; Spector, Stephen; Goodman, Meghan
Subject: VPOTUS pool report
Vice President Joe Biden participated in a briefing with job-training students at a Pacific Gas & Electric services center in Oakland on Friday.
The 15 students present and in the utility's workforce development program are all veterans and represent every branch of the U.S. military.
Biden, in suit and tie, arrived at 10:48 a.m. and was welcomed by Tony Earley, the president and chief executive of PG&E, and Tom Dalzell, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, among others.
Inside a temporary structure, Biden greeted the students, asking each what branch they were in. "Tell me about you," Biden asked several of them.
Background on the program:
"Launched by PG&E in 2008, PowerPathway is a collaboration between local colleges, non-profits, and unions that seeks to prepare participants with targeted skills for specific positions at PG&E, as well as interviewing and resume building. Since 2008, PowerPathway has trained more than 600 students—approximately 300 of which are Veterans. More than 80% of PowerPathway graduates obtain careers in the utility industry, and 50% assume new roles at PG&E."
Biden last summer authored a report that focused on successful strategies to train America’s workforce, and has been working since to highlight programs that equip students with the skills needed to succeed in this economy.
Biden said the PG&E program is a pathway to gainful employment. "This is a real job," he said.
But he said the administration also is looking at other types of initiatives because there are a many single parents who can't afford to take time off from full-time paid work.
Biden listened and went around the room hearing about the backgrounds of the students. Several said they felt fortunate to be learning a new skill.
Biden said veteran employment rates are improving. However, he said, there remain problems connecting veterans to work. Employers don't always know where to go. He said the country needs to match the desire and the need with the skills that are out there.
Private employers like PG&E spend far more than the federal government on job training, Biden said. He also extolled the successes of labor apprentice programs.
"The good news, ladies and gentleman, is that America is back," he said.
"Raise your hand if you think China is going to eat our lunch," Biden instructed, adding that he wants the county to do well, but believes its infrastructure issues are holding it back.
None of the students raised their hands.
"Your kids are not going to hear about outsourcing," Biden said. "It's about insourcing."
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also joined in the discussion with Biden, Earley and the students.
Outside, the open press event began just after 11:40 a.m.
Biden expanded on the importance of workforce development and job-training programs. Military veterans are a key piece of the puzzle, he said.
"This is the best trained, most qualified group of warriors America has ever produced," he said.
PG&E hopes to fill 75 percent of its management posts from within, building employee loyalty.
"It's good for business, but it's also good for employers," Biden said.
The state's largest power utility has been in the news for reasons other then it's training program.
On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to levy a record $1.6 billion penalty against PG&E for causing a 2010 deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno, a suburb south of San Francisco. PG&E will not appeal.
The vice president arrived in San Francisco on Thursday to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reportedly with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Sacramento Bee | Capitol Bureau
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