WHEN THE WELDERS CAME TO CAPITOL HILL; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 85
(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2018)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E717-E718]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                 WHEN THE WELDERS CAME TO CAPITOL HILL

                                 ______
                                 

                         HON. THOMAS R. SUOZZI

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, May 23, 2018

  Mr. SUOZZI. Mr. Speaker, last year, I welcomed three welders--
Christopher Donahue, Andrew Labeck and Moises Fernandez--into my 
Washington, D.C. office. They were smart, articulate, and passionate 
about their work.
  These welders had access to job training and critical tools to give 
them a chance to earn and thrive. And our nation needs more of them. 
Sixty percent of Americans do not attend college. We need more post-
secondary school education, such as apprenticeship programs and 
vocational schools for the next generation that chooses not to attend 
college but is willing to work hard to have the skills to live the 
American Dream.
  The collective story of Christopher, Andrew and Moises tells us a 
great deal about what can work in the American economy. Their story 
also shines a bright light on how to build an economy that gives 
everyone a chance to earn a share of the American Dream.
  Christopher, Andrew and Moises' story inspired me to write in the 
Wall Street Journal about their success and about how to put people to 
work in America.
  Therefore, I include in the Record, those words, that inspiration.

                [The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2017]

                 When the Welders Came to Capitol Hill

                            (By Tom Suozzi)

       I'm sitting in my Capitol Hill office a few weeks ago, 
     meeting with three well-dressed, well-spoken young men who 
     earn salaries in the high five and low six figures. You see 
     the type a lot in Washington, but these guys are different. 
     They're not lobbyists. They don't represent Wall Street or 
     any Fortune 500 companies. They're welders.
       America needs more of them and what they represent: good 
     jobs at good wages. Last month I held a roundtable with 
     suppliers in the aeronautic and defense industries, who told 
     me they cannot find enough computer machinists. It sounds 
     like an intimidating job, but according to these companies, 
     trade schools and community colleges teach the specific 
     skills needed.
       Census data show that in 2015 there were 105 million full-
     time jobs in the U.S., about 59 million of which paid less 
     than $50,000 a year. That's not enough to raise a family and 
     achieve the American dream. Most people who work these jobs 
     responded to President Trump's message of antiglobalization 
     and ``America First.'' Many workers without college degrees 
     have played by the rules but still feel left behind. 
     Globalization and technology rendered their stable, good-
     paying jobs obsolete.
       Policy experts, economists and politicians (including me) 
     have pushed college education as the solution. We've argued 
     the more you learn, the more you earn. Yet minting more 
     college graduates in the STEM subjects--science, technology, 
     engineering and math--is only half the story. The other half 
     ought to be creating jobs that can be filled by graduates of 
     high schools, trade schools, community colleges and union 
     apprenticeships.

[[Page E718]]

       The welders in my office seemed almost sheepish when I 
     asked how they came to the trade. The common theme was that 
     they didn't do well in school. I'll tell you what I told 
     them: They're amazing. At 22, 29 and 32 they are making more 
     than many graduates of college or even law school. They take 
     the work that's offered, even if it means leaving home at 
     4:30 a.m. and driving an hour and half. They like their jobs 
     and are good at them.
       The policy debates in Washington--over the corporate tax, 
     the income tax, regulatory reform, infrastructure spending--
     should be centered on creating positions like these. 
     Republicans and Democrats should pledge to work together to 
     create and fill, by 2020, five million new jobs that pay at 
     least $80,000 a year.
       Americans don't need corporate-tax reform simply because 
     companies need more money to buy back stock or increase 
     dividends. They don't need income-tax ``simplification'' only 
     because the wealthy want bigger paychecks. They don't need 
     regulatory reform because workers and consumers have too many 
     protections. And they don't need a massive infrastructure 
     plan only because America's roads, bridges, sewers, water 
     lines and mass transit systems are in disrepair.
       Americans need these things because they will create jobs 
     at home and rebuild the middle class. My welder buddies are 
     losing faith. So are those computer machinists, and millions 
     more like them. You can meet them at any church, bar or ball 
     field. They have a lot to teach Washington, if only it will 
     listen.

                          ____________________