Detroit auto executives recognized during State of the Union - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Detroit female auto executives recognized during State of the Union

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GM CEO Mary Barra (L) and Andra Rush (R) at the State of the Union address Tuesday night GM CEO Mary Barra (L) and Andra Rush (R) at the State of the Union address Tuesday night
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(WJBK) -

The CEO of General Motors joined first lady Michelle Obama to watch President Barack Obama deliver his State of the Union address. Mary Barra is the first female CEO of a major automaker. She took over the company this month and was invited to the Tuesday night address.

President Obama acknowledged her in his speech while talking about the American dream:

"I believe that here in America our success should depend not on accident of birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That's what drew our forebears here. That's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America's largest auto maker; how the son of a barkeep is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on Earth."

The White House frequently invites guests to sit with the first lady to emphasize a policy or issue associated with the guest that the president wants to highlight.

Andra Rush also was invited. She's a descendant of the Mohawk tribe from the Six-Nation Reservation and is founder and chair of the Rush Group. The family of companies includes Detroit Manufacturing Systems and the White House says it's one of the biggest Native American-owned businesses in the U.S.

President Obama's remarks about her:

"Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make those parts. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center - places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new  job, or a better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees.

What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer - and every job seeker. So tonight, I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now."


VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the excerpts from the State of the Union address

-The Associated Press contributed to this report

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