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Joe Biden delivers latest plans for economic growth in N.C.


United States President Joe Biden made remarks about the economy during a speech at North Carolina A&T State University’s Alumni Foundation Center on April 14.

Before his speech, he met with faculty and students in the College of Engineering’s robotics lab at the campus’ newly constructed Martin Engineering Research and Innovation Complex.

“I’m here today to talk about my plan to create and expand HBCU programs in high demand fields like cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and so much more. And to talk about why it’s so critical that we invest in American manufacturing,” said Biden to a crowd of more than 250 students, faculty, staff and lawmakers.

Biden praised N.C. A&T for its success in training the area’s workforce, pointing out how it is the nation’s largest HBCU and enrolls more than 13,000 students, playing a huge role in advancing Greensboro in the fields of technology and innovation. The school annually graduates the highest number of Black engineers of any university in the country.

“A&T is an extraordinary university,” Biden said.

He also touted his administration as having, “delivered $5 billion last year to HBCUs with more to come.” The Biden administration is also working on increasing Pell Grants to help millions of Black students and low-income families attend college.

He briefly touched on the increase of gas and food prices because of fighting in the Ukraine, but quickly turned his message back to the creation of jobs, manufacturing goals and infrastructure improvements. Biden talked about his 2021 visit to Thomas Built Buses in High Point, calling it “incredible.” Thomas Built Buses created a prototype for an electric bus that they unveiled to White House officials last year.

“They have the largest order to date in North America to build electric school bus fleets. This means hundreds of thousands of our children will not have to inhale gas fumes from diesel school buses,” he noted.

Biden also applauded Toyota’s announcement last year to invest $1.3 billion to build a new lithium battery plant near Greensboro by 2025, which is expected to create 1,700 jobs. He also mentioned the 530,000 car charging stations that will be installed across the U.S. by IBW and the 1,750 jobs that will be created in Greensboro.

He also noted how his administration was able to create 365,000 new manufacturing jobs in the United States in the last year, calling it, “the best year of U.S. manufacturing in the past 30 years.” North Carolina is currently at a 3.7 percent unemployment rate, which is only slightly higher than the national average of 3.6 percent.

“There’s not a single thing that America can’t do. There’s not a single thing that America can’t do to compete with the rest of the world. We know what happens when we stop investing in the future and places like Greensboro,” said Biden, who then referenced the state’s decline in the textile industry.

“Reinventing the legacies that Greensboro was built on will be hard - state-of-the-art facilities that make high quality furniture. We’re making Greensboro a place where the future is being written. Students can learn skills in state-of-the-art facilities. We see that being reflected in homes across the city,” he said.

He also urged the crowd to support the America COMPETES Act. The America COMPETES Act is a bipartisan bill that passed in March, intended to invest at least $335 billion over the 2022-2031 period for scientific research and manufacturing in the United States.

“America used to be ranked number one in the world in investing in the future. Now we’re ranked number nine in research and development,” Biden said. “Other countries are closing in fast. We can and we must change that.”

The Bi-partisan Infrastructure Act that Biden kept referring to was passed last year, and will invest billions of dollars into North Carolina for clean drinking water by replacing lead pipes in homes, daycares and schools, expand access to Broadband internet to rural areas, repair and rebuild roads and bridges, and public transportation upgrades, from buses to airplanes, that focus on using clean energy.

“It’s all about speed. We can’t compete for the jobs of the 21st century if we don’t fix our infrastructure,” he said. “This year North Carolina is going to receive $1.4 billion in funding for roads and bridges and another $99 billion for roads and bridges in disrepair.”

He ended his remarks stating his administration launched a New Equity Action Plan that laid out more than 300 concrete commitments to address equity and opportunity and dismantle discriminatory systemic practices affecting underserved communities.

“Equity and opportunity require more than just economic investment. They require police and criminal justice reform,” the president said, listing recommendations like making changes to federal laws, requiring social workers to accompany police on calls, eliminating law enforcement’s use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants in every state.

“If we keep investing in hard-working families, our universities, STEM education, clean energy for tomorrow, there’s simply no limit to what we can achieve. Let’s keep investing in the future of our country, in every community. That’s who we are. We can do this. There’s not a single thing that America can’t do, when we do it together as the United States of America,” said Biden.

Also delivering remarks before the president’s speech were N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-6) and Michael S. Regan, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an alumnus of A&T’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Science.