President Barack Obama challenged Congress to pass his $447 billion job stimulus package on Thursday night during his nationally-televised address to a joint session of Congress, and that package could, if passed, have a big impact here in Kansas City.
"Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher," said President Obama on Thursday.
For graduate student Jackie Whittlinger, this promise could mean a heavy burden is off her shoulders.
"Do I want to go back into something that I may not even have a secure job when I graduate?" she says.
Whittlinger wants to be a high school history teacher.
"I want to work with the high school kids, I want to be the coach, and the Stu. Co. advisor, and do all of that," she says of her dreams.
She knows in the current job market a position may not even be available when she finishes her degree.
"That fear is always in the back of your head," says Whittlinger.
Thursday night the President aimed to calm that fear by introducing a $450 billion jobs act for teachers, veterans, and construction workers.
Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation say that they hope some of that money comes to them.
"We are downsizing the organization, internally within MoDOT, and you'll see it in the construction and the contracting industry as well," says Dan Niec.
The President promises the American Jobs Act may stop that downsizing.
"It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled," President Obama said in his speech.
MoDOT projects haven't stalled yet, but they could without additional funding so could hiring.
"The expansion of our system has slowed and eventually they'll get to the point where you'll see it start to deteriorate," Niec says.
What isn't deteriorating is optimism among people like Jackie Whittlinger who hopes Thursday marks the beginning of a better job market.