Remarks of President Barack Obama

Today, my administration is releasing our strategy to foster new jobs, new businesses, and new industries by laying the groundwork and the ground rules to best tap our innovative potential. This work began with the recovery plan, which devoted well over $100 billion to innovation, from high-tech classrooms to health information technology, from more energy-efficient homes to more fuel-efficient cars, from building a smart electricity grid to laying down high-speed rail lines. But it does not end there. For this strategy is about far more than recovery; it is about sustained growth and widely-shared prosperity. And it is rooted in a simple idea, that if government does its modest part, there is no stopping the most powerful and generative economic force the world has ever known: the American people.

Our strategy begins where innovation so often does: in the classroom and in the laboratory - and in the networks that connect them to the broader economy. These are the building blocks of innovation: education, infrastructure, and research.

We know that the nation that out-educates us today will out-compete us tomorrow. The ability of new industries to thrive depends on workers with the knowledge and know-how to contribute in those fields. Yet, today, our primary and secondary schools continue to trail many of our competitors, especially in key areas like math and science. Hundreds of thousands of high school graduates who are prepared for college do not go to four-year or two-year schools because of the high cost of doing so. And roughly 40 percent of students who start college don't complete college. All along that education pipeline, too many slip through the cracks. It's not only heartbreaking for those students; it's a loss for our economy and our country.

Now, I know that for a long time politicians have spoken of training as a silver bullet and college as a cure-all. It's not - and we know that. But we also know that in the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience. We will not fill those jobs - or keep those jobs on our shores - without graduating more students, including millions more students from community colleges. That's why I've asked Dr. Biden to travel the country promoting the opportunities that these schools offer. That's why I'm grateful that Senator Chuck Schumer has shown tremendous leadership on this issue.

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