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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Jobs Forum

Aired November 7, 2003 - 13:20   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to the president of the United States. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that event we were just talking to John King about. Let's listen in for a few minutes.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... the job base here in the local communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good thing about the way the program was established is that most of the biotechnology industry and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) biomedical research leaders, these were the ones who came together and institute the establishment of the curriculum.

And they -- they did the job assessment and they analyzed the demand of this particular type of a field. And they contacted us and, together with the college leadership, we put together the curriculum.

And up until now, they serve as the advisory committee members to this curriculum, to make sure that we adjust ourselves as the market is adjusting itself.

BUSH: That's very wise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott. You've come out of the textile industry in the area. Of course, we've had a lot of changes in this region in textiles. Can you tell us about how you came UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, I worked as a supervisor for a textile company for almost 15 years. With a part of restructuring, I became a displaced worker.

The economy of North Carolina, with the textile, furniture, tobacco and the demand for that has totally decreased. So I wanted to make sure I found a field that was strong. So I got on the Internet, did a lot of research, a lot of studying. And I actually found biotech.

So I called (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and asked if they had any kind of program. And of course they recommended me to Dr. Shalua (ph). As you can tell, it's a fascinating, fascinating field. Very, very interesting. I did get lucky. I went back and the field actually goes with a TAA program, which is Trade Adjustment Act. Which was approved by -- well, the president has a lot to do with.

So what I really would like to thank the president for is actually -- I mean, for me and for the other displaced workers, he's actually given us a chance to go back and get another career in a fast-growing environment.

BUSH: First of all, I thank you for the credit, but you get the credit. See, you're the person that made the decision you want to do something with your life. I can't make that decision for you. That's your call to make and you get the credit. And for that, really, I appreciate that a lot.

Let me say something about -- one of the interesting innovations, and most important innovation is these one-stop centers that the community college system has plugged into. One-stop center is a place where a person such as Scott can go and say, I've got this interest, what's available? You call it up on the Web or you use their high- tech world to help bring information to your -- to your screen.

And the one-stop centers are really a -- kind of an innovative idea to allow for people to not only find what may be available, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) able to judge demand for jobs themselves. Say, Look, these people are looking for work here, this industry's looking for work here.

But it also helps find job training program. It's very important for the community colleges to be plugged into these one-stop centers because they then become the bridge to the job. Become kind of the -- help create the skills set necessary for someone to access a job. As well, one-stop centers have got resume help.

And so for those out there interested in doing what Scott and the others up here have done, I suggest you go to your regional one-stop centers. You'll find a lot of help. The job of the people there is to help you find -- match your interests or your inclinations with jobs that exist.

I appreciate you bringing it up, Scott. You made the decision to go back to school. Which isn't easy, particularly for an old guy like you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well there is a lot of government help out there. You just have to go find it.

BUSH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, I really appreciate it being out there.

BUSH: I appreciate you saying that. As the economy changes, as technology changes, the slowest part of change is the workforce. And we just got to understand that we got to make sure our workers -- who are the most productive in the world, the hardest working people in the world, the finest people in the world, have the skills necessary to move on with their lives.

And I appreciate that -- the example that you set.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you may be interested in knowing that we have a one-stop center here at Forsyth Tech, located in this building. And so people...

BUSH: It's why I brought it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... can come right here.

Sandy, you've come out of one of our other manufacturing industries. Can you tell me a little bit about, maybe, your career plans and educational goals at this time, to the president?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I worked for a company for ten years. We made electrical connector. I worked my way up to the quality department. I loved my job.

Well, it went overseas. So I had to find a field that I wanted to be in. Like the medical field wasn't my thing. So I -- like Scott -- did a lot of research. The biotechnology is so versatile that it just -- you can do anything. When you get done, there's opportunity everywhere.

BUSH: So like what? What interests you now? As you come in here do you have a -- have you made up your mind exactly what you want to do? Are you open-minded as you go through the curriculum they developed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have quality technician, and that's right up my alley.

BUSH: So if someone's listening right now, and they say biotechnology field, how would you describe it? Give us a sense of what it means. I'm sure there's a lot of people frightened. Biotechnology is a long word. They might say, Well I don't know if I'm smart enough to be in biotechnology. It sounds too sophisticated to be in biotechnology. It didn't frighten you. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I was thinking pharmaceuticals. And things like that. And they're going to teach me. They're -- you know, they're going to teach me what I need to know. They're not going to let me out of there until I know it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

BUSH: And how's your education being paid?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Through the TAA.

BUSH: Yes, good, good. TAA is a program like the Pell Grant program. The good doctor here mentioned Pell Grants. People ought to take a look at Pell Grants. Many of the community college students in our country have their education funded by Pell Grants. We've been dramatically increasing the funding of Pell Grants. It's up to about $12.7 billion now on an annual basis.

Which means people can be able to find a grant -- these are grants, not loans, by the way. That's why they're called Pell Grants. Otherwise, they'd be known as Pell Loans.

And -- but the budget's up quite dramatically over the last couple years by 45 percent. The reason I say that is it's important for people to know, as both our friends here have mentioned, that there's a way to make sure your education is funded, if you work hard, if you look hard. There's money available. And that's important for people to know. Thank you. Good job.

O'BRIEN: All right, we've been listening to the president of the United States. A few more questions and answers. We'll continue to monitor that for you.

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