Office of Public Engagement

Keeping College Affordable, Investing in Workforce Training, and Reflecting on "Never Again": Deputies' Download

Keeping College Affordable

If Congress doesn’t act before July 1, 2012, interest rates on loans for over 7.4 million students will double. And for each year that Congress doesn’t act, students rack up an additional $1,000 in debt over the life of their loans.

There's no reason this has to happen, but unfortunately some members of Congress are placing top priority on giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires instead of making smart investments in education that put the cost of higher education within reach for more Americans.

Getting a college degree shouldn't be a luxury only a few Americans can afford, and it's the sort of critical investment in our future we should be support, not cut. Every hard working student deserves a fair shot at getting the skills and training they need to get a good job and compete in the 21st century economy.

At a time when so many middle class students are struggling to afford a college education, doubling their interest rates will only make it more difficult for them to get ahead. That is why President Obama called on Congress in his most recent Weekly Address and why he is going to get out of Washington and travel to college campuses across the country to get the word out to students and families.

Join the President and add your voice to the debate with the Twitter hashtag #dontdoublemyrate or learn more about what this means to you at WhiteHouse.gov/dont-double-my-rates.

President Obama Speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

President Obama spoke Monday at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and emphasized the importance of not only telling our children—and all future generations—about that dark and evil time in human history, but to teach them to reject hatred as well. As the President said in his remarks, “remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all -- to pause and to look within.”

President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel Light Candles

President Barack Obama and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel light candles in the Hall of Remembrance during a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Investing in Training for American Workers

The President was in Elyria, Ohio last Wednesday where he met with students at Lorain County Community College. He talked about the Administration’s job training initiatives to help more Americans get back to work and connect unemployed Americans with the skills training they need to find jobs in high-demand, high-growth industries. If Republicans in Congress had their way, however, they would actually cut funding to programs like these that help middle class families get back on their feet in order to provide more tax cuts to the wealthy.

Championing Women’s Rights

Last Wednesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden held events focused on addressing violence against women, an issue they have focused on since day one. The President directed federal agencies to develop policies for addressing domestic violence in the federal workforce, and the Vice President held an event to highlight the importance of Congress reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Cracking Down on Oil Market Manipulation

One of the reasons that fuel prices can jump unpredictably has nothing at all to do with production or even consumption. There are those who work to manipulate the energy markets for their own financial gain.  To help protect American families from this practice, President Obama announced last Tuesday a new series of steps to strengthen oversight over energy markets -- while asking lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at curbing illegal behavior and holding the people who manipulate energy markets accountable.

Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride

Last Friday, President Obama led cheers for 22 injured servicemembers as they took a spin around the South Lawn as part of the annual Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride. The participants in the four-day event included representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, including two brothers, Erik and Deven Schei, riding a specially-made tandem bike.

President Barack Obama cheers for the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride

President Barack Obama cheers on participants in the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride on the South Lawn of the White House, April 20, 2012. The President hosted the sixth annual Soldier Ride, a cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Ending Bullying in Our Schools and Communities

Last Friday, the White House screened the documentary BULLY before an audience of bullying prevention advocates from a wide range of communities as well as administration officials like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. This event is only one of many steps that the White House has taken to raise bullying awareness and help end bullying. Visit StopBullying.gov to find out what the Obama Administration has done so far as well as to find resources for young people, parents, and educators.

A Big Week for Sports Fans at the White House

The President welcomed both the 2011 BCS National Champion University of Alabama football team and NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart to the White House this past week. The visit for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide came almost exactly a year after a devastating tornado hit the University’s home town of Tuscaloosa; President Obama praised the players, and paid tribute to what he called "a deeply meaningful season" for the team. The President congratulated Tony Stewart on winning his third Sprint Cup Championship, highlighted all the work NASCAR has done to support our troops, and thanked them for their partnership with Joining Forces.

Blog Highlights

White House Champions of Change Program

The White House honored 10 U.S. Rotary club members from across the country as Champions of Change for their volunteer work to improve the lives of others. Rotary club members are grassroots volunteers and successful business leaders who want to give back to make the world a better place, and embody what being a Champion of Change is all about.

The Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating a commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens. We are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

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.

Three months ago, President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis 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. Youth and communities can sign-up HERE to be alerted when the jobs bank goes live.

The LGBT Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge explores the stories of unsung heroes and local leaders who are leading our march towards a more perfect union. Videos will be accepted in any form (including music video, PSA, short film, video blog, and interview) but must be no longer than 3 minutes. Essays no longer than 750 words will also be accepted if video production is not possible. Submissions should be creative, innovative, and inspiring and must be submitted by Friday, May 4, 2012.

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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