I started a few hours ago at a pre-K program at Moravia Park Elementary School.  (Applause.)  There, kids are getting a head start learning skills they need to succeed in college and the workplace.  And, by the way, this is a center that was named after Steny Hoyer’s late wife, Judy, because she and Steny share my belief in the importance of giving every kid every chance as early as possible. 

 

I got to help with one of the lessons -- we were having to draw zoo animals.  (Laughter.)  And I’ve got to say, my tiger was not very good.  (Laughter.)  The kids were unimpressed.  They kind of looked at it, they said, that doesn’t look like a tiger.  (Laughter.)  But they were amazing.

 

And later today, I’m going to visit with a program that helps people who have gone through some tough circumstances, especially low-income dads, and this program is now helping them get the training and the guidance they need to find work and support a family, which is a priority.  (Applause.)  And probably some of these folks who I’m meeting, they didn’t get that early childhood education that put them on the right track.  And what we want to do is, first of all, make sure our kids are getting the training they need, but if they missed out early on, we still want to give them opportunity on the backend.  

 

But obviously, the training of kids, giving them a good education, training older workers -- none of that is going to make a difference if we don’t have great companies that are hiring.  And that’s why I wanted to come to Ellicott. 

 

Ellicott Dredges, you guys are an example of what we can do to make America a magnet for good jobs.  After all, you all know a thing or two about growing the economy -- you’ve been doing it for more than a century.  This company was founded in 1885.  You’ve been right here on Bush Street since 1900.  This company built dredging equipment that helped dig the Panama Canal.  (Applause.)  That’s impressive.

 

What that means is this company, right here in Baltimore, literally helped create our global economy, because that was one of the first connectors that started to allow us to ship goods and cut the distances that integrated the world economy. 

 

And yet, after all this time, this company still has a set of core values that's lasted for generations.  Just like the folks who came before you, you’ve got that drive to make the best machines that money can buy; to sell products all over the world; to grow not just a business, but a community, and by doing that, you're growing our country.

 

And these values have seen you through an era of enormous change.  Your leaders saw the potential in developing markets like China and India and Brazil and Bangladesh.  So you ramped up your focus on airports -- on exports -- maybe on airports, too -- (laughter) -- but on exports.  And the federal government has worked with you as a partner to sell dredging equipment right out of this shop all over the world.  You maintained your quality.  You built a sales force that travels everywhere, outhustling the competition in search of new business.

 

All that hard work has paid off.  Today, this company, you have sold equipment to more than 100 different countries.  You’ve made new investments here at home.  You employ more than 200 people in Baltimore and Wisconsin and Kansas.  And over the past few decades, during some of the tough times for our workers, you were able to keep building equipment stamped with those three proud words:  Made in America.  And you're selling it around the world.  (Applause.)

 

As Steny Hoyer and some of these House members like to say, that means you're making it in America.