|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 3, 2006
President Participates in American Competitiveness Panel in New Mexico
Intel New Mexico
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
American Competitiveness Initiative
In Focus: Jobs and Economy
9:10 A.M. MST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for the Mexican food last night, Pete. (Laughter.) I hope you picked up the tab. (Laughter.) Laura and I are thrilled to be here. This is going to be an interesting discussion. What you'll watch is a way to talk about how to put good policy in place, not only through my voice, but through the voices of many who are living exactly the strategy that we want to implement for the rest of the country.
So, first of all, I want to welcome my wife, Laura. We don't get to travel that much --
MRS. BUSH: Together.
THE PRESIDENT: Together. (Applause.) We both we're raised in West Texas, and occasionally slipped across the border to go in New Mexico. And every time we did we were better for it. (Laughter.) It's a great state.
Do you want to have a few words?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm going to just speak and, as they say in the political business, step off the message a little bit. George is going to be talking today about what we can do to make sure our children are educated and our economy is competitive. But I also just want to remind everyone that earlier this week, he signed a proclamation to make February American Heart Month. And a lot of people are wearing their red tie or their red dress. I'm wearing my Red Dress pin today to remind the American people that heart disease is the number one killer, it's the number one killer among women in the United States.
A lot of women don't know that, and if they start to suffer the signs of a heart attack or the symptoms of a heart attack, they wait. They don't go to the emergency room like they might rush their husbands to the emergency room, but they don't go themselves as fast.
So I want to encourage Americans to remember that heart disease is the number one killer, to talk to people about all the ways we can prevent heart disease through exercise, healthy eating, not smoking, seeing your doctor on a regular basis so you can find out if you have any early signs of heart disease.
The other thing that fits into the message that George is going to talk about is, we know that if our children have the chance to study more math and science, we'll have even more doctors, we can produce even more doctors, and many, many more medical breakthroughs.
So, remember that February is National Heart Month, and take good care of your heart. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Before we get started, I do want to recognize some folks. Obviously, Senator Domenici is here. I know you are very proud of his service in the United States Senate. What a good man he is. (Applause.) And with him is Senator Bingaman, who is also doing a fine job.
What happened the other day was, I got a phone call from Domenici, and generally when someone of that -- with that much power calls you, you say, "Yes, sir, Mr. Senator." (Laughter.) And he said, I want to come by and I want to bring Jeff Bingaman with me and Senator Alexander. And I said, fine, come on over. And they come over the Oval Office and sit down and say, look, at your State of the Union, we want you to seriously consider announcing an agenda that we think is important to make this country competitive. And I said, I'll consider it. One of the things you want to do when you're the President is kind of keep your cards close to your vest. (Laughter.) I said, "I'll give that serious consideration, Senator."
But I knew prior to him coming in that he had looked at the same report I had seen, which is called the Augustine Report. Craig Barrett, who I'm going to talk about here in a second, was on that committee. Chuck Vest -- I don't know if Chuck is with us, or not. We had dinner with Chuck last night, as well as Augustine -- Norm Augustine, himself. But they're a group of distinguished citizens and scholars and businesspeople who started looking out beyond the immediate and asking the question, what does America need to do to remain the preeminent economy in the world so our people can have a good life? And they made some suggestions. And Jeff and Pete looked at it, fine-tuned it, brought me some ideas. And at the State of the Union, I talked about how to keep this country strong.
And want to give credit to the Senators. I also want to give credit to the Senators after they get the deal done, too, see. (Laughter.) And so I want to thank both Senators for being here.
I also want to thank the Congressman from this district, Tom Udall. Thank you, Mr. Congressman, for joining us. Proud you're here. (Applause.) Two other Congresspeople -- Heather Wilson -- thank you for coming, Heather, appreciate you. And Steve Pearce from eastern New Mexico. (Applause.)
Is it Hobbs? Yes, Hobbs, that's right. (Laughter.) Flying Eagles. That's the name of the basketball team. I do want to thank the Mayor, Jim Owen. Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here. I appreciate you coming. You're kind to take time out of your day. (Applause.)
Before I talk about the Intel family, I do want to recognize the Vice President of the Navajo Nation, and his wife, Virginia -- and that would be Frank Dayish. Frank is here. Good to see you again, Frank. (Applause.) The reason I want to bring up Frank and Virginia is that their daughter, Staff Sergeant Felissa Dayish, is with us. She has been to Iraq twice. Thank you for serving. God bless. (Applause.) I remember the pride that Frank had when he described his daughter's service to me. And I know you're doubly proud, Frank. Thanks for being here -- proud you're here.
And finally, the Governor of the great state of New Mexico has joined us, Governor Bill Richardson. Governor, thank you for being here. Good to see you. (Applause.) I appreciate you coming. I know you're proud of the Intel facility and the Intel family, as you should be.
One of the things we're going to talk about is the importance of research and development and technology. And the people here in this part of the world understand that when you have a research and development facility that promotes modern technology, it improves the quality of the life of the community in which the facility exists. And that has been, really, Craig Barrett's credo as the CEO of this company. He wants to provide a product that people want to buy, obviously -- otherwise, you're not going to be in business. (Laughter.)
But he also understands in something called corporate responsibility. It's in his interest that there be corporate responsibility in Intel. In other words, Intel can only be strong if it has a workforce that's capable of making sure this company is competitive in a global economy. And so I really want to say thanks to Craig and all the employees here for doing the following things -- besides making a good product and providing jobs -- to provide people from this company to teach in local schools.
And if corporate CEO is paying attention to this little seminar, I strongly urge you to follow the Intel example of making employees available to make sure math and science becomes an important part of the curriculum of the local schools. They provide internships for young students here to encourage them to become involved with math and science. They help train teachers. And we're going to talk a little bit about teacher training. And then they provide scholarships.
And so for those of you who work here, thanks for being such -- so generous with your knowledge and your talent. And, Craig, thanks for having us. It's not easy to host the President here. It kind of disrupts -- (laughter) -- disrupt -- yes, I know. (Laughter.)
A couple of points I want to make, and the reason why this subject is relevant, first, we've got a strong economy. Today you're going to see that in January we added 193,000 new jobs, 81,000 new jobs -- extra jobs were added as a result of upgrading the November and December numbers. And we got steady growth. And that's important. We want our people working. We want people to be able to realize opportunity and hope. And in order to do that you got to have a growing economy, obviously.
And we've overcome a lot. I really ascribe that to mainly the entrepreneurial spirit of America is strong, the small business sector is strong. I do happen to think good tax policy helped. I think keeping taxes low is an important way to make sure this economy continues to grow. (Applause.)
But what's interesting about the numbers is that beneath that there's a certain amount of uncertainty amongst some in America. Yes, we've got a lot of competition, and people begin to see an emerging China, and India, and that makes people uncertain. It creates certain anxiety when they hear the stories about India and China beginning to grow robustly, or jobs going to India and China, or India and China consuming a lot of natural resources.
Secondly, there's a lot of turnover in the job market. People are changing jobs, and that creates uncertainty. And during times of uncertainty, we're faced with certain choices. And there's a tendency throughout our history, our economic history and foreign policy history, to withdraw. Times of uncertainty sometimes encourage folks to say, well, why do we need to compete? Why don't we just come within ourselves? Why don't we protect ourselves off from the world? Why do we need to be trying to spread freedom when the world is a dangerous place? Why don't we just come home?
And I strongly reject that notion. And I want to explain to you why. First of all, with an enemy that lurks, if we were to withdraw it would only embolden the enemy and make this country less secure. If we were to withdraw from the world it would be a missed opportunity to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come by spreading liberty and freedom. See, part of my foreign policy is this: I believe that there is an Almighty and I believe that the Almighty's gift to everybody on the face of the Earth, regardless of where they live, regardless of their religion, is freedom. And I believe deep in everybody's soul is the deep desire to live in freedom. And I believe that this country, if it were to retreat, would miss an opportunity to help others realize their dream. And I also know that history has proven that free societies yield the peace that we all want.
Secondly, when it comes to competition, the world is going to be competitive whether we're in the mix, or not. For example, this competitive world is going to demand a job skill set that emphasizes math and science, which we'll talk about here in a second. And if our kids don't have the talents necessary to compete, those jobs won't go away, they'll just go to another country.
I mean, we're in a global competition. Here's my attitude: With the right policy we can compete with anybody, any time, anywhere. This has been the history of America, and it's going to be the future of America. We should not fear the future because we intend to shape it.
The American -- this American economy leads the world, and we're going to continue to lead it. And here's how: good fiscal policy out of Washington, D.C.; making sure that this economy is flexible. In other words, when you say that, that means there's not a lot of rules and regulations that prohibit capital moving freely and people making investment.
We've got to have an energy policy that gets us off this dependence on Middle Eastern oil. I spent a lot of time on that before; I'm going to spend a little more time on it next week. But I'm going to tell you something -- with research and development and technology, we can change the fuels we put in our cars, and we can become less dependent on unstable sources of energy overseas. And if we intend to be the leader of the world, we've got to do that. It's a goal that can be achieved and it's a goal that's necessary.
I've talked about health care -- and will continue -- in the past. I want to talk about trade real quick, and then we're going to talk about the education initiative. Our panelists are beginning to wonder -- (laughter.) It's called a filibuster. (Laughter and applause.) First, let us talk about trade. The first sign that the country is becoming protectionist is when we refuse to ratify trade agreements. That's a sign. It's an indication that the elected officials are beginning to get worried about the capacity of this country to compete. It's hard to get trade agreements through Congress, and I'm worried that that is an indication that we're losing our confidence.
But if you're working at Intel, you better be for open trade, because 80 percent of the products this company makes are sold overseas. Yesterday we were at 3M in Minnesota. It's a great United States company, very much like Intel -- 60 percent of the products they manufacture are overseas -- sold overseas. We're 5 percent of the world's population, which means the rest of the 95 percent could be, and should be, customers to United States products, either grown or manufactured.
Now, the role of the government, it seems like to me, is to not only open up markets for our products, but at the same time, say to our competitors and/or other markets, treat us the way we treat you. That's all we ask. In other words, level the playing field. It is very important if this country is to remain competitive that we do not lose our nerve, that we open up markets for our products, that we level the playing field -- because nobody can out-compete us when the rules are fair.
Now, let me talk about education. That's kind of the -- that's part of the cornerstone of making us competitive, shaping our destiny, refusing to lose our great desire to continue to lead. But perhaps the most important thing of all is to make sure that we lead the world in innovation and technological development, and make sure we have a workforce that has the skill sets necessary to do so. And that's really the heart of the American Competitive Initiative. And that's why we're here at Intel.
Again, I want to repeat to you, all the people who understand the connection between technology and jobs ought to be the people in this part of the world. I remember when this plant didn't exist -- and neither did much of the neighborhood around it. I mean, one of the most exciting things that's happened to the Albuquerque area is the arrival of Intel -- not only because it's provided good jobs, but the spinoff of those jobs, the small businesses that have occurred as a result of -- when this amazing center of brilliance came here.
I want to talk about three things, and then we'll start visiting. Here's some things, practical things the government can do. First of all, the government can't do everything. The government is a partner. For those of you who think the government can solve all problems, this is not the way it works. Most problems are solved locally. First -- one thing the government can do is to spend money on research. In other words, we can be a partner with enterprise.
Do you realize that the Internet came to be as a result of federal government research into basic sciences? In other words, research yields practical applications that improve people's live -- is what I'm trying to say. And so I proposed to Congress that we double basic research programs in physical sciences over the next 10 years. (Applause.)
They tell me that by doing so, we'll be the leader in nanotechnology research. I'm just beginning to understand what that means. (Laughter.) But the smart people tell you, if you're the leader in nanotechnology research you'll be the leader in quality jobs and quality of life.
The second thing that the Congress needs to do is to encourage private investment in research and development. As a matter of fact -- this makes sense -- most of the research done in the United States is done through the private sector. About two-thirds of it is done through private sector research; 15,0000companies take advantage of what's called the research and development tax credit. It's part of our tax code. It says, if you spend money on research, you'll be rewarded through the tax code.
Seems to make sense, if we're trying to encourage people to spend private sector dollars. The problem is, is that the research and development tax credit is only a temporary measure. And so, you're a CEO of a major company like Intel, or a CEO of a small company that's thinking about spending research dollars, and you're uncertain as to whether or not that research and development tax credit will be available.
People don't plan big amounts of money to invest on a short-term basis. It's important to provide stability in the tax code so that the planners and thinkers and investors have confidence that if they make an investment five years from now, the reason they made the investment in the first place -- besides trying to improve product lines -- the reason they made the tax -- the reason they made the investment because of tax incentive will still exist. And so Congress needs to make the research and development tax credit a permanent part of our tax code to encourage more private sector research to keep America on the leading edge of innovation. (Applause.)
Finally -- you'll be happy to hear -- (laughter) -- how do we make sure the folks who are going to be running this economy, our workers and entrepreneurs, have the skill set necessary to do so? How do we encourage people to stay focused on math and science? And that's really an important subject. I -- here's what the government can, and should do.
First of all, we passed the No Child Left Behind Act. It's a great piece of legislation. It basically says, let's raise standards and measure. I can remember people said, why would you want the government to cause people to measure? I said, because we're spending a lot of money. If you're running a business and you're spending money, you want to measure. You want to look at results. People in America want to know, you see? And if a child can't read at the third grade, we want to know why. And we also want to be able to analyze curriculum to determine if that's one of the reasons why. And equally importantly, by diagnosing, you're able to say, this child deserves extra help.
I strongly believe all government is locally controlled. However, I believe that it's the responsibility of government that spends money to say to those who designed the curriculum, please, show us whether or not you're achieving results; and if not, correct what you're doing and solve problems early before they're too late. We need to send that same spirit into -- that we've got in reading in the No Child Left Behind Act into math.
Now, the positive news is that we're doing fine, relative to the rest of the world, in math in the early grades. And you know why we know? We measure. I can remember when I was governor of Texas and we didn't measure, people would say, gosh, my schools are doing great -- until the kids graduated from school and they couldn't read very well and then had to be re-educated at college. Measuring lets you know. Measuring let's you compare. And measuring lets us know how we're doing with the rest of the world. If we're in a competitive world, we want to make sure our students can compete.
And we're doing fine in the fourth grade. We're doing lousy in junior high. Something happens between elementary school, where our teachers are able to get the kids interested in math and they test well, to junior high. And that's where we ought to emphasize focus. In the early -- in the initiative -- in the reading initiative in No Child Left Behind, we say that if you're not up to grade level, there's extra money for you. It's called supplemental services. There's extra money to correct problems early before they're too late.
We're now going to ask Congress to apply that same supplemental service to junior high kids in math. If the kids aren't testing well in math in junior high, in other words, if they're part of the falloff, let's intervene. Let's make sure there's tutorials available, after-school mathematics available, for these children so that they can remain competitive.
And they'll go to high school. So how can we help in high school? Well, one thing that we've learned is that our teachers have got to have the skill set necessary to teach the skills in math and science. And one effective program -- and Laura and I are fixing to go to Dallas after this to herald this program -- is an advanced placement program. And the federal government can be a partner in helping teachers train to be AP teachers. Advanced placement works. Advanced placement raises standards. Advanced placement gives teachers the tools to teach kids to take this advanced placement test, which is a measurement. It's a go-by to determine how competitive our workforce can be in the 21st century.
And finally, we want to get 30,000 adjunct professors into classrooms. That's a fancy word for saying we want engineers and chemists and physicists in places like Intel, or retired professionals, to go in the classroom and excite students about the possibility of math and science. That's what we need. We need role models. We need people walking into a classroom full of youngsters and say, you're not going to believe how cool this profession is. You're not going to believe the horizons that will be available to you. And one of the things Craig has encouraged Intel to do is do just that.
And so here's an initiative that makes sense. Here's a chance for Republicans and Democrats to put aside all the foolishness that's going on in Washington and come together and get something done for the future of this country.
And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to lay out the strategy. And now I want to turn this over to Craig Barrett. He's the CEO of this company. He, himself -- he probably won't tell you this, but I will -- is an engineer, highly qualified engineer. I asked him last night where he spent most of his youth. He said on the Stanford campus. And here he is now the CEO of one of the great companies. He was able to take his degree -- for those of you who are interested in whether or not a degree makes sense -- he took his engineering degree, and now he runs one of the world's preeminent companies. And he's sitting right here. (Applause.)
MR BARRETT: Thank you, Mr. President. You said absolutely all the right things, from my perspective. As I look at the U.S. economy, the major driving force has been technology in the high-tech area over the last several decades. It's going to be that way going forward. The base of technology is math and science, as I think we all know, so the ability to get young people educated in math and science to a higher level comparable to their international counterparts is very important.
And that's why Intel, as a company, has worked with just about everyone around this table. We built Nicole's high school. And she was a finalist in the International Science and Engineering Fair last year. (Applause.)
We helped educate Justin, who is an employee here. He got an MBA while he was here. He's now off in a start-up, an entrepreneur. We work with Chris and Matt in educating young people, New Mexicans, in math and science and to appreciate that technology. And one of the reasons we really do that here in New Mexico is we have 55,000 employees here; we want those jobs to go primarily to New Mexicans. They need to be educated. Frankly, they were worried about Texans coming in here and taking over all the jobs. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's nothing new. Either that, the ski slopes. (Laughter.)
MR. BARRETT: And, obviously, we work with Dr. Hunter and Sandia. We've had a long interactive relationship in joint projects that move technology forward. So we try to interact with all aspects of the community. We do believe that one of the most important things is, in fact, teacher training. And one of our major programs around the world has been training teachers to bring technology in the classroom. We've trained over 3 million teachers around the world.
THE PRESIDENT: Really?
MR. BARRETT: We've trained 30 percent of the K-through-12 teachers here in New Mexico on how to bring that technology in the classroom, make it -- not just technology, but make every subject more interesting for kids -- math, science, English, history. You pick the subject, you can use technology to make it more interesting.
Our company is very proud to spend over $100 each year on education. And that's basically in the local communities and across the United States and around the world. We think every child -- not just here in New Mexico, but every child ought to have the opportunity to learn and to develop to their fullest. And we take that as part of our corporate responsibility.
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. (Applause.) One of the good things about being the President is you tend to draw cameras. (Laughter.) Good or bad, depending on your perspective. I hope people listening hear what Craig has just said, those particularly in CEO America, corporate America, that there is such a thing as corporate responsibility. He said, I take this responsibility serious. It's in your interest, by the way, to help train a teacher. It's in your interest to provide a scholarship. It's in your interest to help a young group of Americans learn math and science because, after all, if you intend to stay in business, you better have a workforce that's capable.
And so, thanks for setting such a good example. Thanks for joining us.
We're also joined today by Tom Hunter. He's the president of Sandia. The last time I was with him, we were standing out kind of in a desert area, and he fired up one of these new solar research beams. (Laughter.) All I can tell you is I was glad I wasn't at the other end of the beam. (Laughter.) But they're doing some good stuff when it comes to research and development here at Sandia.
Welcome. Thanks for being here. What's on your mind?
DR. HUNTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Well, I should say it's a real pleasure today to represent, I presume, about 10,000 of the most committed and best men and women in the national security role and support for our economy and our energy future. It's probably important to say, though, that this initiative could not have been more important to the future of the country, and could not be more important to me.
As I look back on my life, I actually was born, of course, a number of years ago, but in a place and time when opportunities weren't that great. I was a middle child of a recently widowed mother, and the economic conditions were not good. I ended up through that period having a mother who loved me and encouraged me about some things -- education and hard work. And because of that I was able to arrive at a position where I can represent this fine institution and be seated with you today.
And it makes me feel good that those values of education are so important in this initiative that you have. As we look forward, though, which is going to be absolutely critical I think to this country in how we work across the global, we're going to do some new thinking. It's going to be necessary to not look back at how we have done science and engineering in the past, but look ahead and ask questions about, how can we encourage the scientific thought from its very roots? How can we reengineer, if you will, engineering? How can we say there are different ways to do things than we've done in the past?
We have just begun to realize the important power of these large supercomputers that are now present everywhere. As I sit here today, a few miles away at our laboratory there's a computer doing something like 40 trillion calculations every second. And that allows people to realize and see things they could never have dreamed of years ago.
We're also seeing now -- and Intel being one of the most prominent examples -- what I call small, smart things that will redefine how all of our lives work, from our ability to understand the functions of the human body to how we process information, to how we provide lighting -- all those questions. And, finally, looking very deep at the atoms, themselves, and asking, how can we build them up in a way that allows new material to be created? How can we understand how they go. This nanotechnology is opening a new frontier.
So as we think about educating this next generation of scientists, engineers, technicians, it's really critical that we just think differently and newly about how we can have a prominent role in those areas across the globe.
Our view is to help -- view of ourselves and our institution is to help partner with all the people that you see on this table, and to try to bring forward new ways to look at education and support for education and be prominent in that. And we have a large number of partnerships to do so, not only here, but with every university across the country. And I'm proud to be able to be a part of that -- proud you called such prominent attention to it, and thank you for being here.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, let me ask you something. I think it's very important for people listening to understand when you say nanotechnology that it's got an application to their life. In other words, when the federal government says we're going to spend money on research, the taxpayers got to understand that there's something -- their life is going to improve. And the question is how.
The other day, I was talking about how research is -- I mean, how technology has changed our strategy, and I ended with te example, I remember driving across Texas playing the license plate game, and they're driving across Texas watching a DVD. And it all happened in 20 years.
But when you talk about supercomputing will have an application that could help somebody, or nanotechnology, share an example with people.
Dr. Hunter: Well, let me give you an example. If you look at the lights in this room or other places, you'll find that about 20 percent of electricity is devoted to lighting, just to make light, at night and as we see today. If you could understand how to change the atoms in one of these little photo-diodes that -- and rearrange them in such a way that you could put a little electricity and out would come light, then you could end up, by a factor of ten, changing the energy consumption just in lights all across the globe.
The issue, of course, is how you make white light. Today we can make lots of red light and other colors, but we can't make white light. So with research, going in and bending the atoms around a bit, we can figure out how to make that lighting just so much more efficient. And I predict, like DVDs in the cars across Texas, that you'll see lighting in a few years which is all done by other means, and save us enormous amount of energy.
THE PRESIDENT: Yesterday we saw nanotechnology being applied to a fuel membrane that will go into a hydrogen-powered automobile at some point in time, which means we'll be using hydrogen as opposed to extract from oil, the byproduct of which will be water. And it's coming. And technology and research will help us achieve that. We want to be the ones with the hydrogen breakthrough. It means there will be jobs here for American that will improve your quality of life, as well.
Okay, thanks. Good job.
Matt, welcome. Tell everybody what you do.
DR. PLEIL: Okay, I'm Matt Pleil. I'm a faculty member at TVI Community College in Albuquerque. I joined them about three years ago, and with support from Perkins Grants and NSF funding, I've been able to work on a microsystems education program. I'm the Principal Investigator for the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education. And what we're doing now --
THE PRESIDENT: Wait, let me stop you a minute. NSF is the National Science Foundation. Don't speak in initials, because we're -- (laughter.)
DR. PLEIL: I'm originally from industry, and everything was an acronym. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: That's right. Imagine what it would be like if you were originally from government.
DR. PLEIL: They have longer acronyms. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: National Science Foundation. And you're doing what?
DR. PLEIL: I'm working creating educational materials for college students, and also for college and high school teachers so that we can teach the future technologists about microsystems, which a lot of people don't know much about.
THE PRESIDENT: And microsystems are what?
DR. PLEIL: Well, microsystems are here and now, and they include the circuitry that Intel produces, but also micromachines, as well. And we're collaborating with Sandia National Labs. They're on the cutting edge of making surface micromachines, it's called. And I've been fortunate enough to work there part-time, learn from Sandia and help them create educational materials that they use in their University Alliance program.
And we've also been able to train teachers at several workshops. So we're creating a group of folks now that are understanding microsystems and hopefully energizing the kids in school.
THE PRESIDENT: And is there an interest -- I presume with Intel being here, it serves as a magnet for kids to say, gosh, that's a good place to work. I need the skill set necessary, and TVI provides that skill set.
DR. PLEIL: Absolutely, Intel supported TVI over the years to create our semiconductor manufacturing technology program. We have a teaching clean room that was sponsored primarily by Intel, and many of our students go and work for Intel. In fact, one of my students is actually working in the lab, probably today.
THE PRESIDENT: We hope so. (Laughter.) It's interesting, isn't it -- I want to kind of take off on what Matt was talking about. One of the really great assets we have in America is the community college or technical school system. And the reason why is, is that these schools tend to be market-driven. And by that I mean the curriculum adjusts to the needs of the local folks. And what he just said was, is that here's a job provider, here's an education institute -- they collaborated to design a curriculum that actually means something to the graduate.
I'm not saying my history degree didn't mean anything. (Laughter.) It did, it meant a lot. But, nevertheless, if you're interested in work, and you're getting out of school and you want to be trained in a job which actually exists, this collaboration is a vital part. And I urge communities all across the country to utilize their community college or their technical vocational schools, to work with the local industry to design curriculum that matters.
And so one of the ways to make sure that we're competitive in the 21st century is to adequately utilize our community college system, and make sure that they are incented to constantly adjust by working with the job providers.
And so thanks for bringing that up. It's an interesting idea, and I bet a lot of people in Albuquerque didn't even know this is going on. And for people who are looking to find work, you ought to look at the TVI as an opportunity. And the other thing people ought to do -- you may be 35 years old or so; there's money to help you upgrade your job skills. And what education does, it enables you to become a more productive worker. And as your ability to be a more productive worker increases, so do your wages. Education adds -- makes it more likely you're going to have a higher wage. And that's what Matt is doing -- I think that's what you just said. (Laughter.)
DR. PLEIL: Yes, absolutely. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good job. Now, we've got an interesting person here, Nicole Lopez. Nicole, welcome. Tell people your story, if you don't mind.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: You have learned to communicate. (Laughter.) That was fantastic. So what are your dreams?
MS. LOPEZ: I plan on going to the University of New Mexico and major in civil engineering. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. This isn't exactly on the subject, but it is kind of -- Laura is involved, leading what's called Helping America's Youth. The whole spirit of the program is a mentor can make a difference in a person's life; that we can change America one heart at a time. A person can, by just taking time out of his or her life and surrounding somebody with love and compassion, can make a significant contribution to the country.
And so you just described the whole spirit of Helping America's Youth. You also just described the true strength of the country. Our country's strength is not our military or the size of our wallet, it's the fact that there are millions of people that have got great heart who want to improve somebody else's life, love a neighbor like they'd like to be loved themselves.
Nicole, so you're interested in sciences, obviously.
MS. LOPEZ: Yes, I have found that math and science have become my niche and it's my passion, and I want to continue it.
THE PRESIDENT: Awesome. You know, a lot of people probably think math and science isn't meant for me -- it kind of seems a little hard, algebra. I can understand that, frankly, but -- (laughter.) I'm looking for a mentor, by the way. (Laughter.) Both in math and English. (Laughter and applause.) But I hope people listening and hear Nicole's story take a look at math and science. I'm sure there's some -- kind of the "nerd patrol." (Laughter.) It's not, it's the future. That's what Nicole just said -- she said the future is engineering and physics and chemistry and math.
Really good job, by the way. Thanks for coming.
Chris Baca is with us. Chris, why don't you give everybody your job description.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: Clubhouses, go ahead and explain what that is.
MR. BACA: Clubhouses are -- Intel has provided both mentors and equipment and actually a design for a clubhouse that involves using state of the art technology.
THE PRESIDENT: You mean there's a physical plant that people go to where there's the latest technology?
MR. BACA: Exactly it. And that's located right in a neighborhood where you won't -- you wouldn't expect it to be.
THE PRESIDENT: And you run the clubhouse?
MR. BACA: Yes, sir. My program runs the clubhouse.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean the program. Good.
MR. BACA: And so the kids can walk from -- after school, we get these little kids dropping in. They don't even go home. They stop by. We help them do their homework, and then they can play.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: Chris just laid out the strategy which is government, corporate, community involvement -- all aiming at making sure that we save the lives of our children, and not only saves their lives, but give them the skills necessary to be productive leaders into the 21st century.
You're right, old guys like us, we'd better be -- count on the next generation to -- (laughter) -- now, we got to make sure they got the skills. Finally -- we want to make sure that we're in entrepreneurial heaven, and by that I mean that if you've got the instinct and the drive to start your own business, that that you'll be comfortable in doing so. Government can't guarantee your product is successful. We can guarantee you -- good legal policy, good tax policy, good regulator policy, and then go for it.
And one of the things that I notice about our country when I travel the world is we really are entrepreneurial heaven. We got people from all walks of life saying, I want to realize my dream. One of them is Justin Sanchez.
Welcome, Justin. Let her rip.
* * * * *
THE PRESIDENT: I think it's going to happen. I think what you're talking about is that one of these days our homes are going to be little sources of power, and to the extent that we have excess power, we'll feed it back into the grid.
MR. SANCHEZ: That's right, that's absolutely correct.
THE PRESIDENT: How far away are we from that, in terms of your thinking?
MR. SANCHEZ: You know, solar is a technology that the time has come, and I think with some of the more recent innovations and some of the things that we're doing now, in the next five to ten years you could see that happen.
THE PRESIDENT: One reason why it makes sense for the taxpayers to have research and development into solar energy, which we're doing through the Energy Department, in collaboration with Sandia Labs, is because he's just describing a product that's going to come as a result of the research money spent, and that is, it's conceivable that you'll have a little unit on top of your house that will power your own house, and that to the extent that you don't use the power generated from the unit, you actually sell it back to the grid, so you become a mini-power plant.
MR. SANCHEZ: Absolutely. A million mini-power plants.
THE PRESIDENT: And what's the average age of your team, would you say?
MR. SANCHEZ: Average age of the team? Well, that's a good question.
THE PRESIDENT: Management team. Thirty?
MR. SANCHEZ: Forty.
THE PRESIDENT: Forty? Old guys.
MR. SANCHEZ: Of the management team, or the team?
THE PRESIDENT: Management team.
MR. SANCHEZ: Management team, it's probably closer to 50.
THE PRESIDENT: Really?
MR. SANCHEZ: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: So you're bringing down the average.
MR. SANCHEZ: Bringing down the average. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: We want Justin Sanchezes of the country to dream big dreams and to think big. Look at the product they're thinking about. I mean, this is a big idea. And there's people willing to risk capital on the idea, and you're willing to risk time in it.
MR. SANCHEZ: Absolutely.
THE PRESIDENT: And it's going to happen, isn't it?
MR. SANCHEZ: It will happen.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, and America will be better off for it. This is a good way to end, for our people to understand there's a direct connection between research and development, technology, and quality of life. This country has a chance -- it needs to make a choice: Are we going to lead, or are we going to fear the future? I hope after this discussion, people sitting around here and listening ought to realize we ought not to fear the future, but shape the future, and continue to be the leader. And by leading, our people will realize a more peaceful world and a more prosperous world, and a chance to realize dreams. And that's what America has been all about in the past and it should be about in the future.
Listen, thank you all for the panel. It's been a great discussion. God bless. (Applause.)
END 10:05 A.M. MST