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Biden praises PG&E for its workforce training program
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden visited a power plant in Oaklandon Friday and spoke with veterans enrolled in a job-training program as part of a two-day swing through the Bay Area.

Biden spoke with 15 students in Pacific Gas & Electric’s workforce development program before a broader press event where he spoke about the importance of workforce development, especially for veterans, according to remarks released by the White House.

Employment among veterans is improving, even as problems remain, he said. “The good news, ladies and gentleman, is that America is back,” Biden said.

He praised PG&E’s training program, which prepares people for careers as utility workers, welders, gas-service representatives and other jobs. Since 2008, the program has trained more than 600 students, and about half of them are veterans, according to the company.

The vice president gave his speech before utility workers and other elected officials.

He ignored a question shouted at him about a $1.6 billion penalty levied against PG&E this week for a deadly 2010 pipeline explosion that rocked San Bruno, a suburb south of San Francisco. The company has said it would not appeal the penalty.

Afterward, Biden crossed back over the Bay Bridge and stopped for lunch at The Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich shop in downtown San Francisco. He ordered a classic grilled cheese and a side of tomato soup.

Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, arrived in the Bay Area Thursday evening.

The vice president attended a political fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, while his wife visited De Anza Community College in Cupertino to highlight the administration’s commitment to two-year colleges.