President Trump’s visit to Iowa puts a focus on the workforce

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President Donald Trump comes to Iowa to push for job training and a whole lot more during a nearly two-hour stop on July 26.

He held an hour-long roundtable discussion, during which, the commander-in-chief talked about agriculture, ethanol, tariffs, trade deals and tax cuts.

The visit to the campus of Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa including a tour of some the classrooms along with meeting staff and students.

It’s part of the President’s Pledge to American Workers to address more than 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the country.

It’s to follow up an executive order President Trump signed last week.

He was joined by his daughter Ivanka Trump and two secretaries from his administration, Governor Kim Reynolds, U.S. Representative Rod Blum, state business leaders and students who graduated from the college.

He cites the need for job training instruction seen at the college.

President Trump said, “We have some many companies moving back to the United States now and what we need is talented people.”

It’s meant to help fill a shortage of workers by having employers pledge to create more job opportunities through apprenticeships and continuing education.

More than 20 Iowa companies announced their participation in the initiative during the president’s visit.

President Trump said, “Americans of all ages and backgrounds to be equipped with the skills they need to thrive. Preparing American workers for American jobs. We’ve added 3.7 million jobs since as you know, the election.”

President Trump also mentioned tariffs impacting farmers and deal made July 25 with the European Union yesterday to sell U.S. soybeans… while also receiving a green and gold hat reading “Make Our Farmers Great Again.”

President Trump said, “Basically we opened up Europe, and that’s going to be a great thing for Europe and that really going to be a great thing for us, and it’s going to be a really great thing for our farmers because you have just gotten yourself one big market.”

This was President Trump’s first trip to Dubuque Iowa since becoming president.

President Trump received a warm welcome from inside Northeast Iowa Community College.

While President Trump touched on a wide variety of topics during the roundtable, the focus of this trip is for him and his administration to learn about different efforts in workplace development and job training.

That included hearing from current and former students of this college about how they’ve not only found a career in the trades but also a living.

Student and CNC Machinist Joe O’Dell said, “I was a third generation family logger.”

It was a diagnosis of leukemia in 2014 that sent Dubuque, Iowa native Joe O’Dell on a different career path where he is finding success.

O’Dell said, “At NICC and them connecting me with the important people that I need to develop my skill and grow as a machinist.”

It’s an industry O’Dell says is growing because of changing technology and is in need of skilled workers.

O’Dell said, “Manufacturing coming into digital, everything is so much more advanced, and it’s more computer-aided, and it’s more friendly for a work environment.”

It’s the story O’Dell got to share with the President of the springboard provided by proper training. 

O’Dell said during the roundtable, “I am living a very good life from this schooling. This is a great program.”

O’Dell said after the event, “He has really changed things I think for the trade industry.”

For a local manufacturing company, they’re also expressing the need for a bolstered focus on vocational education.

Giese Manufacturing Matt Giese said, “We’re so busy, we have guys on mandatory overtime. They’re great guys, I just want more of them.”

For O’Dell, his hope isn’t just to see more skilled workers but it to lead to more jobs.

O’Dell said, “See a lot of work coming back to the United States.”

President Trump also recognized the passage earlier this week to reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

It provides federal funding to support vocational training at high schools and colleges.

That’s currently waiting on the president’s signature.

After leaving Dubuque, President Trump visits Granite City, Illinois for the reopening a steel plant.

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