President Obama just finished speaking at an Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn., outlining his new jobs plan and casting a positive light on a part of the company that has received negative attention in the past.
Watch an archive of the live stream above, and check out some photos from today’s event here.
“Amazon is a great example of what’s possible,” Obama said, citing the company’s Career Choice program, which offers tuition assistance to its hourly employees who pursue associate degrees or vocational certificates in high-demand fields even if unrelated to Amazon.
He continued, “I talked to Jeff Bezos yesterday, and he was so proud of the fact that he wants to see every employee at Amazon continue to upgrade their skills and improve. If they’ve got a dream they want to pursue, Amazon wants to help them pursue it. That’s the kind of approach that we need from America’s businesses.”
Earlier in the speech, Obama talked about his impressions from a tour of the center, making a pitch for spending on roads and other transportation infrastructure to create jobs.
“I look at this amazing facility and you guys, you don’t miss a beat,” he said. “You’ve got these packages coming out. You’ve got dog food, and Kindles, beard trimmers. There’s all kinds of stuff around here. But once it’s packed up, it’s got to get to the customer.”
He joked later, “I noticed a lot of folks are ordering protein powder. Everybody’s trying to get bulked up.”
Obama went outline his jobs plan, proposing to cut corporate tax rates if Republicans go along with his plans to create jobs by investing in community colleges and public works projects. Under his plan, an overhaul of the business tax system would generate revenue to fund the jobs.
“If we’re going to give businesses a better deal, then we’re also going to have to give workers a better deal, too,” he said.
In advance of the event, Amazon this weekend announced that it is adding 5,000 new full-time jobs at its fulfillment centers around the country, a 25 percent expansion of its workforce at the facilities. Amazon overall has more than tripled in size in three years, now approaching 100,000 direct employees.