Secretary Hilda SolisFebruary 22, 2012
06:48 PM EDT
Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis today kicked off a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight the unique role community colleges play in developing a flexible, highly-skilled 21st-century workforce to meet emerging regional business needs. Secretary Solis is writing updates on the trip from the road.
Dr. Biden and I just visited DG Medical in Centerville, Ohio, to hear about the incredible BioOhio Workforce development partnership that is helping community colleges like Sinclair Community College prepare Ohioans for jobs in the growing biomedical manufacturing industry.
Sinclair is working with former GM/Delphi employees and other dislocated workers to get retraining to perform jobs making medical devices and life-saving drugs. They are part of a BioOhio partnership that has brought together industry leaders and six Ohio community colleges to match workforce needs with course offerings.
The ambitious goal is to graduate 700 Ohioans and place them in biosciences jobs as clean technicians, shipping clerks, packaging experts, manufacturing technicians and test engineers. More than half of existing program graduates already have found good-paying jobs in this field. Also, incumbent workers are being trained to move up the career ladder to become team leaders and front-line supervisors.
Watching this unique partnership at work illustrates why health care industry job growth continues to help drive our recovery forward.
Want to join the conversation by sharing how community colleges and industry partners are working together in your community? Share your story at http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege/tour and follow and engage with the tour on Twitter with the hashtag #CCtour.
You can see more of Secretary Solis' posts at Work in Progress, the Department of Labor's official blog.
Colleen CurtisFebruary 22, 2012
04:36 PM EDT
When the Museum of African American History and Culture opens on the National Mall in 2015, it will be "not just a record of tragedy, but a celebration of life," as President Obama said during the ground breaking ceremony on the site today.
The museum, the 19th in the Smithsonian Institution, will feature objects collected from across the country that tell the stories that make up the African American experience, including personal items that belonged to Harriet Tubman and one of the planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. Lonny Bunch, the museum's Founding Director, gives us a first look at some of the treasures that will be on display. Watch it now:
February 22, 2012
03:53 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday welcomed a group of young musicians to the White House yesterday for a conversation with some of the country's greatest blues musicians. The workshop, called “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America,” gave the 120 middle and high school students from across the country a chance to learn about the genre’s evolution from African American spirituals and work songs to its influence on the chart-topping hits of today.
Megan SlackFebruary 22, 2012
02:00 PM EDT
The theme of this year’s National African American History Month, Black American Women in American Culture and History, recognizes the role African American women have played in shaping the character of our nation and the many unique contributions they’ve made -- and are making -- to our culture and society.
Last year, we featured a series of blog posts from African Americans across the Obama Administration that offered a glimpse into the work they do, including posts from several women serving in the Administration. Below, read the story of Dr. Regina Benjamin, the Surgeon General of the United States, and follow the links at the bottom to read more posts from African American women in the Administration.
As Surgeon General, I am privileged to serve as “America’s Doctor,” providing the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. I also oversee the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. These officers serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health of the American People.
I grew up in Daphne, Alabama, and graduated from high school in the nearby town of Fairhope. I received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in New Orleans and attended Morehouse School of Medicine before receiving my medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I later obtained a masters’ degree in business administration from Tulane University in New Orleans. After completing my family medicine residency in Macon, Georgia, I established a clinic in a small fishing village in Alabama to help its many uninsured residents. That clinic in Bayou La Batre is still operating today, despite being destroyed by Hurricane Georges in 1998, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and a devastating fire in 2006. President Obama nominated me for the Surgeon General’s post in July 2009, and I was confirmed by the Senate for that position in November of the same year.
February 22, 2012
01:34 PM EDT
Ed note: This post originally appeared on The Commerce Blog, the U.S. Department of Commerce's official blog.
Today, in conjunction with the newly-launched BusinessUSA initiative, the Department of Commerce announced the launch of their business app challenge. The $10,000 contest challenges app developers to find innovative ways to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. The business app challenge calls on developers to utilize at least one Department of Commerce data set in creating an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. Developers may choose the platform that best suits them. Applicants may design for the web, personal computer, mobile handheld device, or any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet. A list of developer-friendly data sets can be found on the Business Data and Tools page of Data.gov.
Matt ComptonFebruary 22, 2012
10:53 AM EDT
Last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an incredible group of performers for a night of blues music as part of the PBS "In Performance at the White House" series. After a little encouragement from the legendary B.B. King, the President took the mic from Mick Jagger, and sang a few lines from, "Sweet Home Chicago." Watch:
Matt ComptonFebruary 22, 2012
09:08 AM EDT
This morning, President Obama was on hand for the ground breaking at the site of the future Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
He told those assembled on the National Mall:
Just like the Air and Space Museum challenges us to set our sights higher, or the Natural History Museum encourages us to look closer, or the Holocaust Museum calls us to fight persecution wherever we find it, this museum should inspire us as well. It should stand as proof that the most important things in life rarely come quickly or easily. It should remind us that although we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.
As he considered what the museum will mean and the history that it will cover, the President talked about what he wants his daughters to experience:
I want my daughters to see the shackles that bound slaves on their voyage across the ocean and the shards of glass that flew from the 16th Street Baptist church, and understand that injustice and evil exist in the world. But I also want them to hear Louis Armstrong’s horn and learn about the Negro League and read the poems of Phyllis Wheatley. And I want them to appreciate this museum not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was approved by the Smithsonian Board of Regents in 2006, and the new building is scheduled to open to the public in 2015. The museum will sit on a five acre site, between 14th and 15th Streets N.W. -- near the Washington Monument.
- Go behind the scenes with Lonny Branch -- the founding director of the museum.
February 21, 2012
07:32 PM EDT
Today, Vice President Biden met with law enforcement officials, firefighters and public safety groups in the Roosevelt Room and spoke to a couple hundred more first responders by telephone to thank them for their service and to discuss the new nationwide public-safety broadband network included in the Payroll Tax Extension legislation.
Members of the audience included police chiefs and sergeants from the New York City Police Department, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Association of Police Organization, among others. The Vice President discussed the need to ensure the safety of first responders and the public,and announced a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) that discusses the positive benefits of wireless broadband for public safety as well as jobs, growth, and investment.
The report illustrates the economic impact of President Obama’s goal of doubling the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadcast over ten years, while adopting a nationwide inter operable wireless network.
Vice President Biden said the expanded access “will enable new spectrum to be used for innovation, to speed wireless communication, and to fulfill a promise made to first responders after 9/11 that they would have the technology they need to stay safe and do their jobs.”
“I’ve been working on changing the way we allocate spectrum for a long time,” Vice President Biden said, “because a smarter system is good for our economy, good for innovation, and vital to keeping our communities as well as our cops, firefighters and EMTs safe.”
Megan SlackFebruary 21, 2012
07:32 PM EDT
A new report from the Council of Economic Advisors found that by 2015, U.S. mobile data traffic will be 20 times higher than it was in 2010.
To provide for this projected traffic growth, much of it due to the increase in usage of smartphones, tablets, and other internet-enabled mobile devices, the Obama Administration has proposed making an additional 500 MHz of public airwaves, known as spectrum, available for wireless broadband access.
Making wireless broadband more widely available has the potential to transform many parts of the American economy, opening the door to everything from products that make businesses more productive and tools that help doctors and nurses provide better health care at lower costs to making it easier for people to interact with media-rich mobile apps and high-definition streaming video.
In addition, wireless broadband plays a vital role in enabling emergency personnel to communicate efficiently and to obtain necessary information quickly, including real-time videos, images, and other data, even when first responders are working across jurisdictional lines.
Today, Vice President Biden announced a new nationwide public safety broadband network that President Obama will soon sign into law as part of the payroll tax extension. The new legislation will create a nationwide inter-operable public safety broadband network that will, for the first time, allow law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs to have a dedicated communications network so they can talk with one another.
Read more about the benefits of a robust wireless broadband system in the CEA report.
Secretary Tom VilsackFebruary 21, 2012
05:36 PM EDT
Since the formation of the White House Rural Council in June 2011, we have had a unique opportunity to provide recommendations on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.
The feedback we’re providing to the White House, based on our travels throughout the countryside, has helped us find creative ways to move the country forward without relying on Congress to act because rural Americans can’t wait.
Today's announcements are the result of the Rural Council’s ability to cut across large federal agencies to deliver results for rural families and businesses. Along with colleagues at the Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Labor, we announced three new ways to leverage existing programs and funding to drive economic growth in rural communities.
These announcements include:
- Promoting A Bioeconomy: President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today directing the federal government to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years, which will create jobs and drive innovation where biobased products are grown and manufactured. The biobased products sector marries the two most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing.
- Rural Jobs Accelerator: We are launching a national competition, providing about $15 million for projects that promote innovation-fueled regional job creation. The competition will combine funding from USDA, the Economic Development Administration, Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. USDA will utilize our Rural Community Development Initiative program to support this effort and provide technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.
- Rural Health IT Workforce: The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to connect community colleges and technical colleges that support rural communities with the materials and resources they need to support the training of Health Information Technology (HIT) professionals that work in rural hospitals and clinics.
Click here to learn more about the efforts of the White House Rural Council.
Matt ComptonFebruary 21, 2012
05:06 PM EDT
This morning, President Obama hosted an event at the White House to talk about the payroll tax cut -- which Congress voted to extend last week.
Flanked by a group of Americans who shared stories about what they would be forced to give up without the tax cut, he gave credit to all of those who added their voices to the debate:
This got done because of you; because you called, you emailed, you tweeted your representatives and you demanded action. You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington. And because you did, no working American is going to see their taxes go up this year. That's good news. Because of what you did, millions of Americans who are out there still looking for work are going to continue to get help with unemployment insurance. That’s because of you.
February 21, 2012
04:39 PM EDT
Tomorrow, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will embark on a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight innovative industry initiativesthat are helping train students with the skills they need to meet area workforce needs.
President Obama recently announced an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education,which will help forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs.
During the tour, Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis will visit several community colleges to learn about model industry partnerships, but we know there are many more success stories around the country (check out the full schedule below). We want to hear from community college faculty, students, business and community leaders about how these partnerships have benefited you and your community.
Check out this video from Secretary Solis asking for community college faculty, students and industry partners to share their stories. Got a story to share? Head over to WhiteHouse.gov/CommunityCollege/Tour to tell us about it or share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #CCtour.
Here’s the full schedule for the bus tour.
Cass SunsteinFebruary 21, 2012
11:38 AM EDT
On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563, in which he directed regulatory agencies to base regulations on an “open exchange of information and perspectives” and to promote public participation in Federal rulemaking. The President identified Regulations.gov as the centralized portal for timely public access to regulatory content online.
In response to the President’s direction, Regulations.gov has launched a major redesign, including innovative new search tools, social media connections, and better access to regulatory data. The result is a significantly improved website that will help members of the public to engage with agencies and ultimately to improve the content of rules.
The redesign of Regulations.gov also fulfills the President’s commitment in The Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to “improve public services,” including to “expand public participation in the development of regulations.” This step is just one of many, consistent with the National Action Plan, designed to make our Federal Government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are technical interfaces/tools that allow people to pull regulatory content from Regulations.gov. For most of us, the addition of “APIs” on Regulations.gov doesn’t mean much, but for web managers and experts in the applications community, providing APIs will fundamentally change the way people will be able to interact with public federal regulatory data and content.
Ambassador Ron KirkFebruary 21, 2012
11:10 AM EDT
Last Friday, President Obama traveled to the Boeing aerospace factory in Everett, Washington. He met with workers and discussed his blueprint for an economy built to last with the renewed strength of American manufacturing. Part of the President’s message will focus on the Administration’s commitment to strong enforcement of U.S. trade agreements. The enforcement of trade agreements is vital to the success of large U.S. exporters like Boeing, as well as hundreds of firms of every size throughout Boeing’s global supply chain.
Here in the United States, from Washington to Kansas to South Carolina, tens of thousands of Americans depend on Boeing and its suppliers for a job and a place to put their skills to work. Trade agreements that guarantee a level playing field for global competition help make it possible for Boeing to sell its airplanes around the world in support of jobs here at home.
Boeing, like other American companies, knows from experience the importance of strong trade enforcement. For many years, the EU and its various member states provided Airbus, Boeing’s main global competitor, with more than $18 billion in subsidies. As a result, Boeing has been competing on an un-level playing field – losing market share and possible job-creating opportunities.
Fortunately, last year the Obama Administration secured a victory against EU subsidies to Airbus. It was the largest verdict in the history of the World Trade Organization. USTR is currently working to ensure that the EU implements the necessary changes and stops the illegal subsidies. Once implemented, this decision will lead to a more level playing field for Boeing and its many suppliers across America who support well-paying jobs for tens of thousands of hard-working Americans.
Nancy-Ann DeParleFebruary 21, 2012
09:18 AM EDT
On October 31, 2011 President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action to help further prevent and reduce prescription drug shortages, protect consumers and prevent price gouging. Nearly four months later, it’s clear that the President’s Executive Order and the good work of the FDA are making a difference for the American people.
Since President Obama signed his Executive Order, FDA has prevented 114 drug shortages. In part, this resulted from the Administration’s call for voluntarily notification to the FDA of potential shortages. Notification of a potential shortage is crucial: with enough advance warning, FDA can take action to help stop a potential drug shortage. And since President Obama signed his Executive Order, voluntary notifications have increased six-fold.
Today, the FDA is announcing the steps it has taken to end the shortage of two important drugs that fight cancer:
- To avert an impending shortage of methotrexate, a drug used to treat children with leukemia, the FDA has worked with manufacturers to help ramp up production and has approved a new application to produce the version of the drug that is most needed , which will further bolster supply and ensure patients have access to this lifesaving medicine.
- To end the shortage of the cancer drug Doxil, the FDA will allow the temporary importation of a replacement drug. This action should address patient needs and end this drug shortage.
The FDA is also responding to President Obama’s Executive Order by releasing new draft guidance for the drug industry on requirements for both mandatory and voluntary notification to FDA of issues that could result in a drug shortage.
Kori SchulmanFebruary 19, 2012
12:48 PM EDT
For the next White House Tweetup, we're inviting our followers on Twitter to come to the White House to welcome UK Prime Minister David Cameron for an Official Visit, and of course tweet all about it!
Interested in joining? Learn more and apply at WhiteHouse.gov/tweetup.
On March 14, President Obama and the First Lady will welcome Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and his wife, Samantha Cameron, to the White House for an Official Visit. The visit will highlight the fundamental importance of the U.S.-UK special relationship and the depth of the friendship between the American people and the people of the United Kingdom.
The visit begins with an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, a tradition that started during the Kennedy Administration to formally welcome a visiting head of state. Sign up now for your chance to join other @WhiteHouse followers at the Arrival Ceremony. The deadline to apply is Sunday, February 19th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
You can also follow the tweetup and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WHTweetup.
Cecilia MuñozFebruary 18, 2012
10:47 AM EDT
The agreement reached in Congress yesterday is an important step that will prevent a tax hike on 160 million hardworking Americans who are still recovering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and continue essential support for millions of unemployed Americans struggling to find jobs. The agreement is also important because it prevents doctors who treat Medicare patients from taking a nearly 30 percent pay cut. That kind of cut would harm physicians and jeopardize seniors’ access to the doctor they know and trust.
Some have argued that this legislation hurts the Affordable Care Act. This claim is false. Most of the policies in this bill that help prevent doctors from taking a pay cut are in the President’s budget. Others were the product of a tough negotiation. And none harm the implementation of health insurance premium tax credits as did the House Republican plan from December.
Let’s look more closely at what is actually in the agreement:
Matt ComptonFebruary 18, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
February 17, 2012
07:49 PM EDT
A quick look at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
National Medals of Arts and Humanities: Extraordinary Americans who have excelled in the arts and humanities throughout their careers—from philosophers to sculptors—joined the President and First Lady at the White House on Monday for an occasion they look forward to every year: awarding the National Medals of Arts and Humanities. The honorees’ contributions, the President noted, “[H]elp guide our growth as a people. The true power of the arts and the humanities is that you speak to everyone.”
Surprise!: As White House visitors stepped into the Blue Room on Thursday during a public tour, they were greeted by unexpected guests: the First Lady and the Obama family’s canine, Bo. Reactions ranged from shock and excitement to overwhelmed—watch the meet and greet here.
From One VP to Another: After accepting an invitation from Vice President Biden, Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China spent Tuesday morning at the White House to attend a series of meetings with Administration Officials including the President. His visit to Washington, D.C. also included a meeting at the Pentagon and a U.S.-China Business Roundtable at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among various other events.
Master Lock: The President headed from Washington, D.C. to Wisconsin on Wednesday to visit with Master Lock workers and talk about his plans to boost American manufacturing—something Master Lock is familiar with; the company has discovered that it can actually save money by keeping production facilities in the United States and bringing jobs back to America.
What $40 Means: In December of 2011, we asked Americans what $40 meant to them, and tens of thousands of Americans answered—$40 is a tank of gas, a co-pay for a doctor’s visit, a prescription medicine, a pizza night with their family. Their voice made a difference then and now—on Friday, lawmakers extended the payroll tax cut through the rest of 2012, in addition to extending critical unemployment benefits. You can watch this video to meet some of the tens of thousands of Americans who courageously shared what losing an extra $40 per paycheck would mean for them and their family.
787 Dreamliner: On Friday, the President visited the Boeing assembly facility in Everett, Washington to announce new steps to help promote American manufacturing and increase U.S. exports, following his outlining of a Blueprint for an Economy Built to Last. At that very facility, the 787 Dreamliner, the world’s most advanced commercial airplane, is assembled—nearly 8,000 people are directly employed in building it.
2013 Budget: On Monday, President Obama announced his budget for the 2013 fiscal year in Annandale, Virginia. This year’s budget reflects the President’s firm belief that our country has always done best when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules. The budget continues our commitment to keeping that promise alive by creating an economy that’s built to last—with good jobs that pay well and security for the middle class. To read the complete budget, you can download the PDF here, or get an on-the-go copy for your Nook.
Erin LindsayFebruary 17, 2012
06:22 PM EDT
This week, thousands of people have shared their stories about how $40 less in every paycheck would affect them if Congress didn’t extend the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans –and it made all the difference.
Lawmakers extended the payroll tax cut through the rest of 2012, in addition to extending unemployment benefits that provide lifelines to millions of Americans looking for work.
The thing is, $40 is real money for working families, as people all over the country told us. That money buys things like school lunches, the gas needed to get to work or visit ailing relatives, and co-pays for doctor visits and essential prescription medicines.
Check out our slideshow of the photos and stories of Americans across all 50 states (plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) who believed that their voice could make a difference and had the courage to speak out about what losing an extra $40 per paycheck would mean for them and for their family.
A unique view of 2012