Joe Biden’s Industrial Policy: Transforming American Workers and Communities

In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden highlighted the success of his administration’s economic agenda in creating new jobs and attracting investments in key sectors such as clean energy and advanced manufacturing. This focus on industrial policy marks a significant shift from past economic strategies and is gaining acceptance from both Democrats and Republicans.

Industrial policy, once a taboo topic, is now at the forefront of Biden’s economic agenda. The administration has secured major investments in industries like semiconductor manufacturing and clean energy with bipartisan support. These investments are expected to create thousands of new jobs and drive economic growth across the country. However, the success of these initiatives will depend on the ability to train and upskill workers to meet the demands of these rapidly growing industries.

One such challenge lies in the shortage of skilled workers in the semiconductor industry. Deloitte estimates that the industry will be short of 90,000 workers in the coming years, highlighting the need for increased training and educational programs. The Biden administration has allocated $5 billion towards training semiconductor engineers, but more efforts and funding will be required to address the skills gap in this and other critical industries.

Ensuring that workers benefit from these new job opportunities is crucial to the success of industrial policy. State workforce systems are facing challenges in connecting workers to these new opportunities and providing the necessary training and support. Collaboration between public workforce systems, education providers, and employers will be essential in creating tailored training programs for workers in high-demand industries.

In Ohio, companies like Intel, Honda, and Amgen are investing billions in chip manufacturing, electric vehicle production, and biomanufacturing facilities. Columbus State Community College has been tasked with building a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the demands of these industries. By forging partnerships with employers, labor organizations, and government leaders, the college is working to ensure that workers are prepared for the jobs of the future.

Investments in wrap-around supports, such as affordable child care and job training, are also essential in helping workers access these new opportunities. Quality jobs that provide economic mobility and career advancement are key to lifting workers into the middle class. By focusing on developing the skills of workers and providing the necessary support, industrial policy can have a positive impact on the lives of American workers and their communities.

As the debate around industrial policy continues, it is important to assess the true impact of these investments on both the economy and the workforce. The resurgence of industrial policy must be measured by its ability to help the United States compete globally and improve the lives of American workers. By prioritizing workforce development and training programs, industrial policy has the potential to transform the economy and create opportunities for workers across the country.

Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future, emphasizes the importance of investing in worker training and support to ensure the success of industrial policy initiatives. By focusing on building a skilled workforce and providing the necessary resources for workers to thrive, industrial policy can drive economic growth and create a more inclusive and prosperous future for all Americans.

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