Seeking the best setting for a speech to follow his State of the Union address, President Bush today headed to Delaware, a DuPont Co. facility in Wilmington that conducts research on biofuels. Where better to talk energy — a major theme of last night’s address — than at a great American manufacturer?
The President’s remarks — available here — reprised his case for energy security, aided by development of alternative fuels. In an apparent impromptu observation, he also mentioned the importance of human resources, the energy of the intellect:
At this company you’ve got 2,500 scientists; some of the smartest people in our country work here, all trying to develop new technologies — this isn’t anything new for DuPont, by the way, this is like what you’ve been doing for a long time — but trying to develop new technologies to help us solve this problem. And that’s why I’ve come here. You’re employing the best minds possible to address the problem of economic and national security and environmental issues, because we’re dependent on oil. And the American people have got to know that you’re making progress.
As an aside, when I talked about the immigration bill last night, I also want you to know I understand that we need to make sure that when a smart person from overseas wants to come and work in DuPont, it’s in our interests to allow him or her to do so. We’ve got to expand what’s called H1B visas. …It makes no sense, by the way — I know, I’m getting off topic here — (laughter) — but I feel strongly about what I’m telling you. It makes no sense to say to a young scientist from India, you can’t come to America to help this company develop technologies that help us deal with our problems. So we’ve got to change that, as well, change that mind set in Washington, D.C. I know we can work together on that.
We echo that sentiment, noting that a “High-Performance Workforce” is a key component of the NAM’s 2007 policy agenda. The particulars:
Reform the current visa system to attract and retain global talent in the United States. Support a national emphasis on math, science and engineering in education, and improve
coordination of our workforce training.
Support initiatives to ensure that every student earns an education or certified workforce skills.
We appreciate the President keeping these issues, so critical to the manufacturing economy, at the forefront of public debate. If we can achieve these goals, then thousands and thousands more engineers, scientists, researchers and manufacturers will be addressing — and solving — America’s problems.
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