President Barack Obama talked up manufacturing jobs as a worthwhile pursuit for young people and said students should not suffer "because adults can't get their act together" during two rallies on Thursday.
Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images
President Barack Obama signs a memorandum on job training after speaking at the General Electric Waukesha Gas Engines facility on January 30, 2014 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Taking his State of the Union message on the road to Wisconsin, the president talked up skilled trades, and signed a directive to have Vice President Joe Biden lead a comprehensive review of federal job training programs.
"Not all of today’s good jobs need a four-year degree. But the ones that don’t need a college degree do need some specialized training," Obama said at a General Electric gas engine factory in Waukesha, Wis.
"A lot of parents, unfortunately, maybe when they saw a lot of manufacturing being offshored, told their kids you don’t want to go into the trades, you don’t want to go into manufacturing because you’ll lose your job," Obama further explained. "Well, the problem is that a lot of young people don’t see the skilled trades and manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you, folks make a lot more – potentially – with the skilled trades and manufacturing than with an art history degree."
The president otherwise reiterated some of the highlights from his speech on Tuesday, speaking about education, equal pay for women and a higher minimum wage.
Later Tuesday, the president visited a high school in Nashville, Tenn., that he said has successfully blended the instruction of real world skills into a classroom setting.
Obama repeated educational goals such as getting high speed broadband Internet in every classroom, rewarding good teachers and encouraging schools to teach skills directly connected to a job.
"There is no child that we should let slip simply because of politics or because adults can't get their act together," he said. "We need to make sure we're reaching every single one of them as fast as we can but right now we aren't doing that."
Before the speech, Obama met with former Vice President Al Gore and actress Ashley Judd. Both Tennessee natives were also in attendance for the speech.
Thursday's trip marked the second day of Obama's post-State of the Union tour.
NBC's Andrew Rafferty contributed to this report.