Office of Public Engagement

Creating a Secure Energy Future, Revamping Job Training, and Making Refinancing Easier: Deputies' Download

Happy Women’s History Month!

Last Monday, the President received a new progress report, showcasing the Administration’s achievements in reducing our reliance on foreign oil, saving families and businesses money at the pump, and positioning the United States as the global leader in clean energy.

Also on Monday the White House further outlined the President’s plan to reform our nation's re-employment system and help up to one million displaced workers each year with the creation of a Universal Displaced Worker Program and an American Jobs Center network. The American Jobs Center will provide a single point of access to a full slate of key information for companies and individuals.

On Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the International Women of Courage Awards at the Department of State on International Women’s Day. Her address highlighted the compelling stories of the ceremony’s ten female honorees.

First Lady Michelle Obama at the International Women of Courage Awards

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the International Women of Courage Awards ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Last Tuesday, the President announced another step to make refinancing easier for millions of Americans who have government-sponsored mortgages, staying true to his principle that every homeowner who is current on his or her payments ought to have a chance to refinance their mortgage at today's historically low rates. He's cutting fees -- to help families save money and make refinancing more attractive. The President announced the effort at a press conference, where he also announced a series of steps to assist our nation's veterans who were victims of wrongful foreclosures or who were otherwise disadvantaged in the mortgage process. 

President Barack Obama holds a press conference (March 6, 2012)

President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, March 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Last Friday’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal. For the first time since the 1990s, and after losing millions of good manufacturing jobs before and during the recession, the manufacturing sector is adding jobs: 429,000 over the past two years. Overall, private sector payrolls increased by 233,000 jobs. There was also an increase in the size of the labor force last month of 476,000. 

The President made a series of announcements this past week aimed at further bolstering the manufacturing sector. At the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe facility last Friday in Petersburg, Virginia the President laid out his plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation and his plans to invest $45 million in a pilot program aimed at promoting collaboration between government and industry in order to encourage innovation in manufacturing. And last Wednesday at a manufacturing plant for Daimler Trucks North America in Mount Holly, North Carolina he discussed more ways his administration is taking an all-of-the-above approach to American energy and announced a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to help boost the deployment of clean, advanced vehicles all over America.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy in Petersburg, VA (March 9, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy after touring the Rolls-Royce Crosspoint facility in Prince George County, Va., March 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Spring Break: Let the Summer Job Search Begin

This week, thousands of 16-24 year olds will begin a week that marks the beginning of the path to summer: Spring Break.  Every year, Spring Break marks a time when many youth begin making their summer plans.  For most youth, this will involve beginning the search for summer employment.

Youth employment is a critical element of success for young people.  As a pathway to careers and education, meaningful summer employment not only helps young people develop workforce and leadership skills to get and keep good jobs, but also connects them to long term economic opportunity.

Unfortunately, the recession has had a particularly hard impact on youth employment.  Only 45 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed the end of August, including only 33.8 percent of African American youth.  This is significantly lower than the 54.5 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 56.1 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago.  Only 21 out of every 100 teens in low-income families had a job this past summer. 

President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently announced the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a call-to-action for American business, nonprofits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.  We are writing you to seek your interest in answering this important call for youth in your community.

Our goal is to provide 250,000 young Americans employment opportunities this summer. Over 180,000 commitments have been made to date by our partners.

Please join us for a conference call with other leaders for more information:

  • What: Briefing Call on the Summer Jobs+ Initiative
  • When: Thursday, March 15th, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT
  • Number: (800) 230-1059                           
  • This call is off the record and not intended for press purposes

On the call, we will discuss how employers can participate in the Summer Jobs+ initiative and help connect young people to a summer employment opportunity and a better future.

Blog Highlights

White House Champions of Change Program

The White House honored eleven Champions of Change for their extraordinary service as mentors for startups and small businesses across the country. By sharing their expertise and hard-won experience with first-time entrepreneurs, these mentors are not only “paying it forward” – they are enabling countless American businesses to grow faster and create more jobs.

Get Involved

For more information about ways to get involved, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated daily with upcoming engagement opportunities. Be sure to participate in the online conversation by following @JonCarson44.

Do you know of an American scientist, engineer, or inventor who has helped lay that foundation—who made a major mark on the Nation and perhaps the world? Consider nominating them for National Medal of Science or National Medal of Technology and Innovation before March 31.  These awards are the highest honors the President bestows in science, technology, and innovation.

The White House Internship Program is accepting applications for Fall 2012. Please visit www.whitehouse.gov/internships for detailed information about the program, the application process, a timeline with deadlines, and the departments that participate in the program.  The deadline to apply for Fall 2012 is April 1, 2012.

Finally, we invite you to join the White House’s Equal Pay App Challenge to develop an application that will educate and empower Americans by making information about the pay gap more accessible. This is another facet of the Administration’s bottom-up, open government initiative. To find out more about the initiative check out the Open Innovator’s Toolkit.

Get Updates

For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at public@who.eop.gov

Anne Filipic and Stephanie Valencia are Deputy Directors in the Office of Public Engagement.

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