Recalling his days as an upstate New York college student, Vice President Joe Biden said during a visit Wednesday that it seemed back then that the region’s major employers like Eastman Kodak, Bausch and Lomb and Xerox would go strong forever.
But “Kodak’s not making a lot of film these days; a lot of things have changed,” Biden said at Monroe Community College, which he held up as a model training ground for the changing employment needs of companies.
Biden’s trip came a day after President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, directed the vice president to lead a review of federal job-training programs.
Biden, who attended Syracuse University, along with his wife, Jill, a community college professor in northern Virginia, praised the community college’s partnerships with regional companies and use of real-time labor market data to shape the college’s programming by tailoring it to specific jobs.
“These are partnerships that change lives,” Jill Biden said.
Earlier, the Bidens toured a campus precision machining shop, stopping to talk with Bob Krest, 54, who entered the program after losing his job making film at Kodak after 36 years.
Kodak, which in the 1980s employed 145,000 people, emerged from bankruptcy in September as a smaller company focused on commercial and packaging printing.