Read all posts from November 2011

  • Last July, I wrote about a new and innovative effort to help address sexual assault and dating violence. While women of any age can be targets of this kind of abuse, young women aged 16-24, experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and 1 in 5 will be a victim of sexual assault during college. Many of these assaults occur when the offender, often an acquaintance, has targeted and isolated a young woman in vulnerable circumstances. Moreover, sixty percent of college students who have been in an abusive relationship say no one helped them.

    Working with the Office of the Vice President and the White House Office of Science and Technology, we launched the Apps Against Abuse technology challenge – calling on software innovators to harness the power of mobile technology to help prevent dating violence and abuse by keeping young adults connected to trusted friends and providing easy access to important resources for help including local police and abuse hotlines.

    Today, we are pleased to announce the winners of the challenge: “Circle of 6” and “On Watch.” Prototypes of the two winning applications were selected from a pool of over 30 entries submitted to

    Vice President Biden applauded the winning applications earlier today during a conference call with hundreds of college and university officials to discuss ongoing efforts to help better prevent and respond to sexual assault and violence on campuses across the country. He encouraged the college and university leaders to make students on their campuses aware of the applications when they become available for download in 2012.

  • Fort Monroe

    Fort Monroe (National Parks Service)

    Today is truly an historic day for America as President Obama is announcing the establishment of Fort Monroe National Monument -- a historic fort in Virginia’s Tidewater region that was integral role to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military -- as the 396th unit of the National Park System.

    With the strong support of the people of Virginia, from the congressional delegation to Governor McDonnell to Mayor Ward and the citizens of Hampton, President Obama has ensured that this historic fort, a symbol of the long struggle for freedom for African Americans, will be preserved as a national park for generations to come.

    Fort Monroe is one of 101 projects that I have highlighted as part of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.

    This Thursday at 1:00 pm EDT, we will release the final 50-state report outlining some of the country’s most promising ways to reconnect Americans to the great outdoors. As part of that launch, I’ll be participating in a live web chat, where I will answer your questions about the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Ft. Monroe National Monument,  and how conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives are strong economic engines for our nation’s economy.

    Click here ( to send me your questions in advance or tweet them to me at #askken.

    I look forward to answering many of your questions on Thursday at 1:00 pm ET.

  • $4

    America's national parks make up an important part of our society. Besides preserving our history and protecting natural ecosystems, national parks are economic engines. Every $1 of federal investment in our national parks creates $4 of economic value to the public. These investments include projects to build, maintain, and repair facilities, replace outdated machinery and equipment with more energy efficient systems, and preserve natural and cultural resources. In fact, national parks generate $13.3 billion in local private-sector activity and support 267,000 private-sector jobs nationwide due to economic activity they generate.

    Today, President Obama designated Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, as our 396th national park. Fort Monroe, a historic fort in Virginia’s Tidewater region, played a pivotal role in the history of slavery in the United States. During the Civil War, the fort remained in Union possession and became a place for escaped slaves to find refuge. Fort Monroe closed its doors as a military base in September, but today’s proclamation ensures its legacy continues as a national monument.

  • Today President Obama proclaimed that this November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a time when “we celebrate the remarkable and everyday successes of our entrepreneurs and innovators, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our economy remains the engine and the envy of the world.”

    We understand that entrepreneurs are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the country.  Starting this year, the White House Startup America initiative has accelerated the success of high-growth entrepreneurs by unlocking access to capital, cutting red tape, and expanding mentorship opportunities, complemented by major private sector commitments

    The President’s American Jobs Act will go even further, allowing entrepreneurs to raise capital in innovative ways and using unemployment insurance to turn job-seekers into job-creators.  And because we can’t wait for Congress to act, just this past week the President announced new executive actions that will reduce student loan burdens for young entrepreneurs, accelerate cutting-edge research from lab to market, and create a one-stop shop for businesses to access federal resources and boost exports.

    One of the most exciting things about working for the White House is getting to engage with so many different entrepreneurs doing so many amazing things.  America is teeming with innovative startups – not just in technology, and not just in Silicon Valley.  Here is just a small sample of the path-breaking entrepreneurs we’ve gotten to know over the past few months:

    Throughout National Entrepreneurship Month, we’ll be posting more stories of American entrepreneurs embracing the unknown, growing innovative companies, and creating jobs all across the country.

  •  Brooklyn Navy Supply Warehouse

    Approximately 400 construction workers are at work transforming this former Navy supply warehouse in Brooklyn, NY into a state of the art industrial center that will provide 1,300 permanent jobs.

    Recently, the U.S. General Services Administration joined with New York City officials for the groundbreaking of a project that will transform a former Navy supply warehouse in Brooklyn, built in 1918, into a small business incubator. Once completed, no longer will the nine-story structure represent a vacant excess federal building.  It will soon be a hub of activity as approximately 400 construction workers prepare the structure for manufacturing businesses that are anticipated to provide 1,300 permanent jobs in the planned state of the art industrial center.

    Last summer, GSA completed the successful sale of this former federal building to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which had selected a private developer to redevelop the 1.1 million square foot warehouse. The federal government received $10 million through GSA’s negotiated sale to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

    As part of the White House Campaign to Cut Waste, the Obama Administration is moving aggressively on disposal of excess properties such as this one to save taxpayer dollars and make more efficient use of the government’s real estate assets.  President Obama has directed federal agencies in a Presidential Memorandum to focus on improving the management of the government’s real estate and getting unneeded properties off our books. Agencies have risen to the challenge and identified opportunities that exceed the President’s goal to realize $3 billion in savings from the government’s properties by September 30, 2012.

    With a portfolio including 350 million square feet of public buildings, 200,000 federal vehicles, and a flow of goods and services throughout government totaling $95 billion, GSA is uniquely suited to ensure federal tax dollars are not wasted on properties that are excess to the Federal government’s needs.  Since 2002, GSA’s Real Property Utilization and Disposal office, working with all federal landholding agencies, has disposed of over 3,355 unneeded federal properties resulting in over $5.6 billion in proceeds. With our position as the leading federal asset manger, we will continue to work with agencies to aggressively identify and dispose of underutilized buildings to make our government more sustainable and efficient.

    The sale of the Brooklyn warehouse to the New York City Economic Development Corporation will deliver jobs to the region while relieving the federal government of a property that has outlived its utility.

    To find out more about the federal government’s excess property list visit the White House Excess Property Map or GSA’s Real Property Utilization and Disposal site.