My dad always told me: “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in your community. It’s about being able to look your kids in the eye and say, honey, it’s going to be okay.”

I’ve carried that lesson with me throughout my entire career in public service. I’ve fought for an economy that works for all of us — where everyone can find a job that gives them security, that gives them dignity.

Right now, because of the Trump Administration’s failure to contain COVID-19, over 30 million American workers have either lost hours, lost paychecks, or lost their jobs entirely.

We’re eight months into this crisis, and this president still has no plan to rebuild our economy.

I do. I’ll get America back to work and build back better.

We have to defeat COVID-19. We simply can’t solve our jobs crisis until we solve our public health crisis. You can read my comprehensive plan to tackle this virus here, but it comes down to this: I’ll put science first, institute mask mandates nationwide, ramp up testing and contact tracing, protect our health care workers, and issue clear guidance on safely reopening.

The crisis isn’t going to disappear overnight — small businesses and workers need our help now. The mom and pop shop that has been a staple of the community for decades. The restaurant that is doing everything they can to keep their employees on payroll. The Black business owner who is barely hanging on but was denied an emergency loan.

I’ve called on the Trump Administration to ensure that government loans go to small businesses — not just large corporations and the well-off. They aren’t listening. As president, I would immediately right this wrong.

But once we do defeat this virus, we can’t just go back to the way things were before. We have to build back better. We have to create a stronger, more inclusive economy.

Here’s how we do it:

1. Empower American Workers

In the wealthiest nation in the world, no one should work full-time and live under the poverty line. I’ll work to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 across the country. This will instantly give millions of Americans a well-deserved raise — the farmworker who grows our food, the domestic worker who cares for our aging and sick.

My administration will ask big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share for a change. We’ll protect and strengthen the right to collectively bargain. And we’ll fight for equal pay. It’s unacceptable that the average woman makes 82 cents for every dollar a man makes.

2. Advance Racial Equity in Our Economy

This crisis has hit Black and Brown communities especially hard. Black and Latino unemployment is outpacing the national average and minority-owned businesses are closing at alarming rates. These inequities have been exacerbated by COVID-19, but let’s be clear: they are not new.

As president, I’ll make key investments to open up job opportunities, remove discriminatory barriers in our economy, and build avenues to wealth and homeownership. We have to be bold — and we have to act fast.

3. Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation

Just the other week, I spoke with the hard-working men and women at an aluminum foundry in Wisconsin and gave them my word: my administration will make sure the future is made in America.

I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of U.S. manufacturing is a thing of the past. Our manufacturers have boundless grit, talent, and genius — they will help fuel our economic recovery.

4. Build a 21st Century Caregiving and Education Workforce

This pandemic has further exposed the glaring inadequacies in our child care system. We need to give working parents, especially women, a lifeline.

Under my plan, I’ll work with states to ensure every 3- and 4-year-old will have access to free, high-quality preschool. And we’ll give low-income and middle-class families up to $8,000 in tax credits to help pay for child care. Because if we truly want to reward work in this country, we have to ease the financial burden that families are carrying.

5. Invest in Infrastructure and Clean Energy

Our crumbling infrastructure and climate change are grave challenges, but they’re also huge opportunities. My administration will create millions of new jobs and build a more resilient, sustainable economy.

Recently, independent, non-partisan economists said my jobs plan will create 18.6 million jobs and get us back to full employment by 2022.

Listen, I was there in the darkest hours after the 2008 economic crisis. President Obama tasked me with overseeing the massive recovery effort. And together, we brought us back from the worst recession since the Great Depression and set us on the longest stretch of job growth in history.

So here’s what I want to leave you with: we can and will get through this.

With the right leadership, we’ll rekindle the greatest economic engine the world has ever seen and we will own the 21st century.

– Joe