President Barack Obama heads to Golden Valley, Minn., on Friday as part of a series of trips urging Congress to act on his "To Do List" of measures designed to jump-start the economy.
On his visit to the facilities of Honeywell, a major manufacturer, the president will announce a partnership with the Manufacturing Skills Standards to streamline the machinist licensing process for military veterans. Senior administration officials previewing the event told reporters on Thursday that the policy would allow returning vets to receive industry-recognized credentials in manufacturing fields without having to fulfill two-year degrees, provided that they've been trained during their service.
Combined with two other initiatives the president will announce, the skills standards venture could provide an estimated 126,000 service members the opportunity to get advanced credentials with minimum cost to the government. One official put the price tag of the project in the "low tens of thousands."
But there is another interesting feature to the presidential trip. Golden Valley is roughly 30 miles from the Wisconsin border. And with Obama under progressive heat for not getting more intensely involved in the Scott Walker recall effort -- and because Minnesota has little political relevance for the election -- the possibility of a surprise visit doesn't seem far-fetched.
Asked about that possibility, however, Obama's campaign shot down the idea. One official said current plans do not include a stop in Wisconsin. Another official confirmed that there was no change in the president's schedule.