President Obama departs Utah after announcing solar energy goal

President Barack Obama waves before entering Air Force One Friday, April 3, 2015, at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden Utah. The President announced a new renewable energy plan. Scott G Winterton | Deseret News

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — President Barack Obama wrapped up a 16-hour trip to Utah after delivering a short speech Friday morning in front of a solar energy array at Hill Air Force Base.

Obama called the base one of the most outstanding in the country, praising the service members stationed there for their efforts protecting the country.

“I think everybody here at Hill understands that one of the most important aspects of national security is strong economic security,” said Obama. “We can’t maintain the best military that the world has ever known unless we also have an economy that is hummin’. A lot of our men and women in uniform at some point are going to transition into civilian life and we want to make sure, after they have fought for our freedom that they’ve got jobs to come home to.”

He said the economy can grow as private and government sectors work together to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, invest in education and job training. He highlighted the solar industry, saying that they are adding jobs ten-times-faster than the rest of the economy.

Obama announced a new goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020.

“As part of this, we’re creating what we’re calling a ‘solar ready vets’ program,” said Obama. “It’s modeled after some successful pilot initiatives that have already been established over the last several years. It is going to train transitioning military personnel, over the last several years, for careers in this growing industry at 10 bases, including right here at Hill.”

During Obama’s visit he also met with Utah political leaders, including Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Before concluding his address, Obama thanked the state of Utah for their hospitality during his short visit.

Obama said, “I was telling the Governor yesterday, as we were riding from the airport that I’m going to make sure that I come back next time, where I don’t have to do so much work and visit some of these amazing national parks here and have a chance to visit with some of the wonderful people here in the great state of Utah.”

Following his speech, Obama was transported by his motorcade to the airfield where he boarded Air Force One and returned to Washington, D.C.

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