Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog
- Posted byon March 14, 2012 at 3:14 PM EDT
This Friday, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ tour of emerging Southeast AAPI communities will culminate with the Southeast Regional Action Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. According to recent Census data, Southeastern states have experienced rapid AAPI population growth in the last decade and we’ve been working with communities to understand what these changes mean for public policy. I had the opportunity to engage in this dialogue with members of the growing Marshallese community in Arkansas. In the 2010 Census count for Arkansas, 4,324 people identified themselves as Marshallese, placing the state as having the highest Marshallese population in the continental United States and the second highest overall (with Hawaii having 7,412).
Just like many of the newcomers we have met throughout the country, Marshallese face social, economic and linguistic challenges when integrating into completely new communities. Despite these challenges, they remain hopeful and work hard to achieve their personal goals. For example, I met Kevin, a student activist from the Northwest Arkansas Community College who left his home 6,000 miles away to pursue a degree in business. He said that while he struggles to stay in school he moved to Arkansas because of the opportunity to study and because it has a welcoming community.
- Posted byon March 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM EDT
March 11 marked the second anniversary of President Obama’s Executive Order 13534 which created the National Export Initiative (NEI). The President’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014 is on track, with exports increasing almost 16% last year to $2.1 trillion. Although the bar seemed high at the outset, the focused efforts of the Obama Administration through the National Export Council – which includes the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Labor, Energy, Agriculture, Treasury, the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as well as congressional and business leaders – is delivering. At the Export-Import Bank last year, for example, financing authorizations for exports grew 34% to $32 billion, with 85% of transactions to small and medium sized enterprises.
This is good news for all Americans because with exports come jobs and a more balanced economy based not only on domestic consumption but also on sales of products and services overseas since 95% of customers are outside our shores. And it is also good news specifically for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Minority-owned firms are twice as likely to export, and we are seeing their success in communities across the country. In New York City, Los Angeles and Houston where there are high concentrations of AAPIs, exporting is up more than 20%.
When I spoke on February 28 to the Greater Seattle Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong Association of Washington, I met many of their members who have led Washington to become the most export-driven State in the U.S. The audience was a slice of America – a labor leader from Boeing, exporting farmers, small businesspersons, international bankers, the President of the African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, state economic development officers, and attorneys, among many others. All were interested in the NEI success and eager to trade updates on Asian export markets. The sentiment was much the same at two other February meetings with the Indonesian-American Association and with the San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
As the Obama Administration observes the anniversary of the NEI, opportunities for AAPIs could not be better, whether we are working in exporting, education, diplomacy and government, or the professions that support the NEI. Since NEI’s launch in 2010, the Obama Administration has done an outstanding job leading policy as well as outreach initiatives to the AAPI community. Congratulations and thanks to all those who through NEI are building bridges not only of trade but also of friendship.
Patricia M. Loui was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of Directors of The Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
- Posted byon March 8, 2012 at 10:04 AM EDT
On Monday, the White House Office of Public Engagement organized a briefing for 165 Vietnamese Americans from 30 different states who work across diaspora communities in order to promote human rights, global partnerships, and opportunities for Vietnamese abroad.
This briefing celebrated the unity and diversity of the Vietnamese American community. Briefing participants expressed the desire to elevate the “everyday” Vietnamese American, the nail salon worker, the bus driver, the post office worker, the fisherman, or the thousands of individuals who work hard day after day, but continue to pay close attention to the affairs of their homeland, Vietnam. These are the communities that our President is fighting for through his work on healthcare reform, creating jobs, and strengthening the economy during this make or break moment for the middle class.
- Posted byon February 28, 2012 at 10:02 PM EDT
This week, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is hosting a web chat targeting young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) who have an interest in community advocacy. The web chat will give young leaders the opportunity to discuss their own community work, as well as learn about internships, fellowships, and other opportunities to get involved with AAPI issues at the federal level.
Working at the Initiative has been an incredible learning experience, as well as an invaluable opportunity to meet passionate individuals with a commitment to improving the lives of AAPIs through public service. I have opportunities to work on projects pertaining to bullying, federal employment, affordable healthcare, domestic violence, and a host of other issue areas integral to improving the lives of AAPIs.
Through outreach to local leaders and collaboration with community organizations, the Initiative has been able to accomplish so much in just two years. The Initiative’s work has touched AAPIs across the country, reaching smaller AAPI communities in the Midwest and South, as well as larger AAPI communities on the East and West coasts. Today, there are more than 17 million AAPIs, yet significant portions of the population live below the poverty rate, face significant health disparities, and struggle with accessing culturally and linguistically appropriate services and resources. Across the country, the AAPI experience varies greatly.
I encourage those of you who seek a fast-paced and challenging work environment to apply to the Initiative’s internship program. The Initiative will be accepting applications for its summer internship program until March 15, 2012. Interns are responsible for assisting the staff in researching a wide range of issues, including education, health, community and economic development, and civil and immigrant rights. The internship is an invaluable opportunity for young leaders to get hands-on experience and help create greater visibility for AAPI issues at the national level.
Please also take the time to come to our youth web chat on Wednesday, February 29th from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST. If you would like to participate, email WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov with “RSVP for 2/29 Chat” in the heading by February 29th at 12:00 p.m. EST. We will then email you with log-in details.
Bessie Chan is a Project Analyst at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Posted byon February 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM EDT
Ed Note: The following is a cross-post that originally appeared on the Commerce.gov blog.
Supporting the growth and global competitiveness of minority-owned businesses is a priority for the Department of Commerce and the Obama administration.
And we’re making good on that priority. Last year, the Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) registered the best annual performance in its 41-year history. It assisted minority-owned businesses in gaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital, supporting the creation of nearly 6,000 much-needed jobs. Over the last three years, our network of 39 MBDA Business Centers, has been largely responsible for generating $10 billion in contracts and capital while helping to create and save nearly 20,000 jobs.
- Posted byon February 22, 2012 at 8:44 PM EDT
This week, I joined my colleagues, including White House Cabinet Secretary and Initiative Co-Chair Chris Lu, in Jacksonville, Florida to engage with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business leaders about the Obama Administration’s policies and programs to support aspiring entrepreneurs and start-ups, resources for small businesses wanting to go global, and innovation opportunities for entrepreneurs, including health IT.
Throughout American history, AAPI communities have played a pivotal role in helping to build the infrastructure that supports our great nation. As our economy continues to improve, the contributions of the AAPI community will lead the way in building and improving our health care infrastructure in An America Built to Last.
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