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VIP Reception in Honor of Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh

VIP Reception in honor of Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh
Friday, January 20, 2023
Ambassador’s Residence

Minister Kocher, friends and colleagues – servus!

It’s a delight to welcome you all to the residence, and to welcome Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh to Austria.

I’m especially happy to see Secretary Walsh here because of our prior connection. I got to know him as my Mayor, Marty Walsh, the 54th Mayor of Boston.

Our menu today is a tribute to Marty’s Boston roots. I hope you’re enjoying the New England clam chowder and other seafood that takes our memories back to that great place.

As Mayor, Marty Walsh made a huge difference in the lives of so many Bostonians. He comes from a working-class family, and he understands how important it is to create good middle-class job opportunities for people in these communities.

Among other programs, he created a “learn and earn” job apprenticeship program.

Marty’s successes as Mayor made him a perfect pick as Secretary of Labor in President Biden’s administration. This administration has made strengthening the middle class a central part of its goals – and our international partnerships are a critical part of that.

We have so much to learn from how Austria has used apprenticeships as a pathway for millions of people to good middle-class jobs – and for some, a pathway to executive leadership. We want to see these opportunities extended beyond manual labor to the high-tech economy of the 21st century. This is why, last year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Austria on apprenticeships and workforce development.

With Secretary Walsh’s visit to Austria this week, we’ve taken a step toward making our vision a reality.

Senior officials from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Commerce, and Education have met with key Austrian institutions including the Austrian Economic Chamber, the Labor Chamber, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Trade Union Federation, and two different professional training centers. We also went to Linz yesterday to visit Voestalpine in Linz to see that company’s apprenticeship program. We’ve strengthened relationships, and we’ve set something in motion that I think will benefit many people.

I want to thank you, Minister Kocher, for the warm hospitality that you and your team have shown our delegation – as well as the companies and other institutions that have opened their doors to this cooperation. We are just getting started!

I don’t want this gathering to be about speech-making, and I’ve already talked enough. This reception is about building relationships between the United States and Austria, and we all want that to continue.

Again, thank you for coming!