BOSTON (WHDH) - Former Boston Mayor and current U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh returned to his roots, visiting his hometown to talk about preparing students for the future of work.

“When you look at the future of our workforce, it’s about opportunity,” Walsh said.

He joined Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to meet with students at the Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology. Those students are training for careers in new technologies.

Walsh said ensuring representation in these new fields is essential for economic equity.

“Right here in Boston, the average wealth of a Black family is $8. It’s still $8. It was $8 when I became mayor,” Walsh said. “The average of a white family is $237,000. You know what that is? That’s the ability to buy a home. That’s the ability to have investments. We need to change that narrative.”

The school’s president and CEO gave a tour of its Center for Energy Efficiency and the Trades, which trains students for careers focused on solar and wind energy, electric and autonomous vehicles and electric power generation.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., also joined the panel of speakers. She and Walsh agreed that institutions like this will help provide new career opportunities for students in Massachusetts and across the country.

“These investments, and this institution, ensures that every learner can thrive, and that our region can grow,” she said.

Walsh also discussed President Joe Biden’s plans to build pathways for the future, while recalling his own efforts to do the same when he was mayor.

“When I was the mayor of Boston, I started a program called Operation Exit,” he said. “The folks who have gone through (this program) are earning good wages today. The folks that have gone through (it) have healthcare, have pension benefits, have annuity benefits, have opportunities to do amazing things.”

The White House has set aside $200 million in this year’s budget for investment in career-connected high schools.

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