South Burlington, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today joined the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden, and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at BETA Technologies in South Burlington as part of the Biden Administration’s Investing in America Tour.
The event included a walkthrough of the BETA Technologies, a growing Vermont electric aerospace company, where BETA employees showcased their work on the control mechanisms for ALIA aircraft.
The visit also highlighted the importance of investing in Career and Technical Education. Students from North Country Technical Center in Newport, Vermont, gave a tabletop presentation to test the voltage, and tension components of electric vehicles.
The event concluded with remarks from Senator Peter Welch, Secretary Cardona, Governor Scott, and the First Lady.
A transcript of the Governor’s remarks can be found below:
Governor Scott: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here.
First, I want to thank Kyle and his team at BETA for hosting us, and Payton, Ally, and Noah from North Country Career Center – as well as Colton and Phoebe from Vermont Technical College and Community College of Vermont – who did a great job showcasing all the training and job opportunities we have here in the state.
In Vermont, and across New England, I feel a sense of optimism, because of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalize our once thriving rural economic centers, and the small towns around them.
So I also want to thank the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary of Education Cardona , for highlighting this historic moment and helping us follow through.
I firmly believe, if we stay focused on the fundamentals by making smart investments in our kids, our workers and communities, we’ll bridge the divide we’re seeing across Vermont, and as I’ve heard President Biden say, “we’ll grow this economy from the ground up and the middle out.”
Now, as you know, I’m a Republican and the President, First Lady and their team are Democrats. In a more perfect world, the fact that our goals are aligned, in this area at least, wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy. But at this time in our history, it may be, because politics have become so polarized. The knee-jerk reaction is, to oppose anything the other team is for.
But in my experience, pure, down and dirty partisan politics has never contributed to real solutions. Not once.
And today is a reminder that we can, and should, prioritize progress over politics. Especially on issues where the majority of Americans agree, like the importance of investments in infrastructure, on trades and technical education, and on equal economic opportunities from region to region.
And to me, that’s one of the most historic, and underreported outcomes of the investments the President and Congress found a way to come together to pass.
Now it’s up to the states to make the most of this moment and make wise investments. One area we know we need to continue to work on is growing our workforce, especially in the trades. Because without folks in the trades, we can’t keep the lights on, the water running, maintain the roads or the vehicles on them, build the homes we need, renovate our hospitals or schools, or reach our environmental goals.
Without these talented people, we really can’t do much.
Earlier this winter, in my Inaugural Address to the Legislature, I talked about my high school experience.
I was definitely a gear head – a hands-on learner who loved to design and build things.
It helped me understand how things work, or why they don’t. And my early training took me in so many directions. I really enjoyed it, and still do.
But I also remember how it felt being caught between two worlds. I’d take my college prep classes in the morning, and then head off to the vocational center in the afternoon.
At that time, the vocational program was typically for those kids who, ‘weren’t going to make it’ on what was considered the ‘normal path.’
There was a definite stigma attached, and I was stuck right between those two worlds, with neither group of kids understanding why I was with them.
As I reflect on that time in my life, that may have been the start of me being a centrist.
Now, I think we’ve all experienced just how important the trades are when we find ourselves in a jam.
Especially when our car breaks down, have an electrical problem, a water heater leak, or a sewer pipe failure.
And there’s no denying how important they are to our future, especially when you consider the role they’ll play in energy, telecom, and our overall economy.
So, here’s the point I’m trying to make – everyone, from teachers and guidance counselors, to parents and policy makers, needs to make a real effort to end the stigma around CTE and trades training.
Because these are great careers that present endless possibilities for talented and hardworking kids, like our special guests today.
If we do this right, all the infrastructure work that’s being contemplated will move our nation forward, not only economically, but beyond the divisive partisanship that’s become the norm in our country.
Dr. Biden, I don’t know you well, but I think you’d agree in my belief that everyone is born with a gift, and sometimes we just need to explore long enough to find it.
So as we work to make the most of this historic opportunity, our job is to make these educational paths easier to find, interesting to explore, and rewarding to pursue. I want to thank you for your focus on doing just that.
So, here we are, with a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make investments that give every community the chance to catch up, to act on their vision, and help them see it through to attract new people and new jobs, put more kids in schools, restore their downtowns, reclaim their character and renew their identity.
It’s about focusing on the fundamentals and following through on what we’ve started to deliver what’s been promised.
And that’s why we’re so pleased to have you here today, Dr. Biden, thank you for coming.
And with that, it’s my privilege and honor to turn the podium over to the First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden.