Mike Rowe, from “Dirty Jobs” fame, is currently advocating for more social acceptance of blue collar jobs. He documents the shortage of high skilled trade jobs like welders and pipe fitters (the WSJ has also covered this – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121910464115051361.html), and he believes that one of the reasons for this is that society paints this type of career path as the consequence for not completing college.
If you read the text of Obama’s speech, he perpetuates this elitist attitude that not going to college should be considered as a failure. If you’re planning on reading the speech, you might consider reading it as if you were a high school junior or senior who is excited about becoming a tradesman. I can’t see this speech playing well with the 75% of the population that hasn’t completed college.