WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- In President Obama's State of the Union address back in January, he designated Vice President Joe Biden to review the nation's job training programs. The goal was to ensure that workers have the skills they need to get good jobs that are ready to be filled.
Vice President Biden is optimistic about the future of this country. He knows on a very personal level how unemployment can devastate an entire family.
"I went to a Catholic prep school that my mom and dad couldn't afford," the Vice President recalled.
So as a teenager, he landed his first job, on the school's gardening crew.
"My working there, it paid part of my tuition. That was the first job I had," Vice President Biden said.
He would later earn money as a lifeguard, a truck driver and ultimately a lawyer, before moving into politics.
"I think that's what people down here forget, that this is about people's dignity," he said, referring to Washington, D.C.
In the early 1950s, Vice President Biden was in third grade when his father was laid off.
"I remember him sitting on the bed saying Joey, I'm going to Wilmington, Delaware. It's only 157 miles. I thought it was like forever," he said.
A young Joe Biden went to live with his grandparents. Today, he vividly remembers his father's sacrifice and calls it the longest walk a parent can make.
"And the longest walk is having to walk up those stairs like my dad did and say I'm gonna leave you here with grandpa," said Vice President Biden.
Like his father, individual Americans and entire communities have been eviscerated and demoralized by unemployment.
"Like you, I was in a family where when there was a recession, somebody around my dad's table, brother, sister, neighbor, friend was going to lose a job. Not everybody, but it's real. It's tangible," he said.
Today, Vice President Biden is passionate about finding jobs for Americans who want to work.
"These aren't minimum wage jobs. There are so many good jobs but people don't know how to get to them."
The Administration is pushing for partnerships with local community colleges and businesses to ensure those workers are ready.
"We need 635,000 more registered nurses. Average salary: $53,000 a year," he said. "We have 300,000 men and women coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq with post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injury. We're significantly short on psychiatric nurses."
The Ready-to-Work plan includes training programs for the disabled, for college graduates in need of new skills, and for those who have been out of work for several years.
"For someone who has been out of work a long time and really wants to work, it is really debilitating. And that's the hardest nut to crack. And that is, the long-term unemployed. That's what we're working on, very hard," said the Vice President.
Before we closed, we asked the second most powerful man in the United States what his next job would be.
"Well," he laughed, "I hope the next one will be one that's fulfilling!"
In his report, the Vice President said having the most highly skilled workforce in the world is the key to economic success. You can see the Ready to Work plan right here: http://1.usa.gov/1njakiL
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9