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Biden talks business-education partnerships, 'insourcing' in NH visit

Union Leader Correspondent

January 26. 2012 7:28PM
Vice President Joe Biden, center, laughs with NH Gov. John Lynch, left, with, at rear, Wil Arvelo, president of Great Bay Community College, and at right, Jean-Paul Herteman, chairman and CEO of Safran Group, during a visit to Safran partner Albany Engineered Composites in Rochester on Thursday. In the foreground are carbon fiber products that are used in jet turbines to save fuel. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

ROCHESTER -- In a visit to a manufacturing facility co-operated by Albany Engineered Composites and Safran, USA on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden said the partnership between the companies and Great Bay Community College is something the Obama administration hopes can be replicated nationwide. Two days after President Barack Obama talked about the need to educate high-skilled workers as a way to encourage manufacturers to return to the United States, Biden said that is already happening. "America is coming back," he said. He said the nation has had 22 straight months of private sector growth, and policies the Obama Administration put in place two years ago to improve the economy are "beginning to bear some fruit." Focusing on education is a key component to attracting and retaining manufacturers in the Granite State and nationwide, Biden said, and focused on the private-public partnership that is taking place in Rochester as an example. Albany and Safran plan to open a new facility near Albany's current headquarters on Airport Road and hire about 400 workers by 2013, and have teamed up with Great Bay Community College to design a training program that will ensure workers have access to the advanced manufacturing skills necessary for employment. Safran recently joined Albany International in Rochester, and is a global high-technology company with core concentrations in aerospace, defense, and security.Albany is a global advanced textiles and materials processing company. Biden sought to instill optimism in the approximately 200 people who filled an industrial space at Albany's international headquarters, many of them employees of the company. "We're in a position that is clear America is coming back in manufacturing," Biden said, adding that the word "outsourcing" has become a part of every American's vocabulary, and he would like to hear more about "insourcing." As Biden talked about jobs coming back to America, he momentarily slipped into what appeared to be an Indian accent while discussing who answers when someone reaches a call center. The momentary lapse into the accent has already created buzz on the Internet. YouTube: 'Biden Employs Indian Accent During NH Speech'

Biden said what is happening between Great Bay Community College, Albany International, Safran, USA, the city of Rochester, and the state is a "perfect example" of how to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and keep them here. "I think the country's ready.I think it just needs a little bit of care and feeding and cooperation and folks, I think we're coming back." Biden said. Great Bay Community College President Will Arvelo said it was a "wonderful honor" to have Biden visit New Hampshire and highlight the partnership between GBCC and the Rochester businesses. "It is tremendously exciting every time you have that national level attention put on you and it has been put on us, I think, because there is tremendous potential here for building a model that can serve as an example for other community colleges, or four-year institutions to follow," Arvelo said. He said the goal of the business-education partnerships is to create a nexus where education can work with industry to find what skill sets are needed and work to fill them. "To bring manufacturing jobs back we have to provide a workforce that is skilled and educated," Arvelo said. "So it's on us to do that and we're happy to help industry along that path." He said he thought the vice president's speech was "inspirational" and "visionary." New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Wayne MacDonald did not agree. In a statement released following Biden's speech, MacDonald said the event was "another sad reminder that the Obama administration is more concerned with photo-ops and campaign speeches than actually putting forth policies that will get Granite Staters back to work." MacDonald said voters across the state and nation are sick of broken promises and failed economic polices and are seeing that enthusiasm is on the side of the Republicans, not on the side of the President. "Granite State voters are tired of the lofty and flowery speeches, they are tired of empty promises, and they are tired of a President who consistently looks to government for answers to our nation's problems," MacDonald said. Biden said during his speech that he was tired of the "naysayers." "If you look at what we're proposing, it's not ideological, it is just straightforward common sense," Biden said to reporters after the event.

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