The march of time and technology has always transformed America, our economy, and the type of jobs we create. Horse-and-buggy gave way to cars. Whale-oil gave way to electricity. The internet, and our new information-based economy, is transforming everything. Let’s embrace it. And lead the way in the 21st Century.
Our energy future is clean, and green. Transforming our energy infrastructure from digging up and burning dirty carbon-based fuels to the clean renewable energy of the future will create millions of new, good-paying jobs – in areas like solar, wind, and making buildings more energy efficient through improvements like better insulation and smart thermostats. If we invest wisely, America can not only can solve our planet’s climate emergency but transform industry and strengthen our economy.
A critical part of sustainable jobs is building a clearer, cheaper pathway to employable skills for young people. Not every kid needs or wants a four-year liberal arts education, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of accompanying student debt. Here in Bucks County, we have three terrific vocational-technical schools, offering instruction in emerging new sectors like renewable energy and computer technology, which can launch a good-paying career without the debt. Low-cost community college, like the great Bucks County Community College, can also let students graduate with marketable skills and without crushing debt.
One of my proudest accomplishments as a nonprofit lawyer is working several years to pass federal legislation to pay off $60,000 in college debt for students who commit to a career as a low-paid prosecutor or public defender, and now I want to help every single student in America graduate without debt.
Another key component of strengthening our economy is ensuring that no one who works full-time is living in poverty, which is why I support increasing the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 per hour. Raising the minimum wage will lift millions of families out of poverty and help close the widening income inequality gap, particularly for workers of color.
I also know that economic security means more than just having a good job now; we have to protect the promise of a secure retirement in the future. Our workers have earned it. That is why I will fight to protect and expand Social Security.
Our economic future lies in a well-trained workforce and matching that workforce to the needs of industry.