The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon June 5, 2013 at 10:31 AM EST
Last week I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband Joe on a trip to Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil. In each country, I witnessed the good work of the United States to promote economic growth and development through education and empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
Colombia: Vocational Training for At-Risk Young Adults
As an educator for more than 30 years, I enjoy meeting students wherever I go. I love to hear about their experiences and see exciting and innovative programs that are working. One of those programs is the Escuela Taller in Bogota, which I had the pleasure of touring with Colombian First Lady María Clemencia de Santos. Escuela Taller is a vocational school that serves low income and high-risk youth and provides training for jobs such as carpentry, culinary arts, construction and wood working.
Since 2006, USAID has provided funding to the Bogota, Cartagena, and Buenaventura locations of Escuela Taller, funding that, in part, supported the construction of the school’s in-house restaurant and kitchen. Through the U.S. partnership, the school is mitigating gang recruitment risk factors such as lack of education, unemployment and low-self-esteem for young adults. Alumni like Jonothan Medina who attended the culinary school are now dreaming big – he wants to study in France at the Cordon Bleu! In fact, over 90 percent of the graduates from the culinary program are employed in local restaurants.
- Posted byon May 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM EST
Ed. note: The full text of the op-ed by Dr. Jill Biden is printed below. The piece is published today on The Huffington Post, and can be found here.
The year my son Beau was deployed to Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard, my family learned how much simple acts of kindness could lift our spirits. From the notice in the church bulletin to the neighbor who shoveled my daughter-in-law’s driveway during a snow storm, these gestures meant the world to us.
This Memorial Day, I hope you will take a moment to offer your own gesture of thanks to our men and women serving abroad and at home, as well as their families, and reflect on the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Over the past four years, First Lady Michelle Obama and I have had the privilege of meeting with military service members and their families all around the world. We’ve heard their concerns about school and career issues; we’ve shared their joy when service members returned from deployment, and we’ve tried to offer solace when they face difficult times. These stories and experiences – and our desire to say ‘thank you’ - inspired us to start the Joining Forces initiative, a nationwide effort to rally all Americans to support our veterans and military families.
Joining Forces brings together public and private resources to help with the employment, education and wellness of our returning servicemen and women and their families. Through the Veterans Job Bank and Veterans Recruiting Services, we’re connecting unemployed veterans with job openings. We’re working hard to encourage states to make it easier for military spouses – often teachers and nurses - to transfer their certifications across state lines. And we’re proud to have so many private sector partners committed to increasing the number of veterans they hire.
From a big initiative to a small gesture, Memorial Day is the perfect time to offer a simple act of kindness to our veterans and military families. You can send a message of thanks to our troops or a military family. Or pledge hours of service. Or even start your own volunteer project. And afterwards, please share your story - we want to hear about it!
Building Opportunities in Indian Country: Congratulations to the Graduates of Navajo Technical CollegePosted byon May 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM EST
On Friday, I had the honor of addressing a class of graduates at Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint, New Mexico. The Navajo Tech graduating Class of 2013 earned certificates in 34 fields that will provide the tools they need to serve their community as teachers, nurses, engineers, mechanics, bankers, chefs and countless other opportunities all made possible by their commitment and dedication to improving themselves through the pursuit of a higher education.
Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) play a key role in President Obama’s educational goal of making the United States home to the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world. TCUs are critical institutions that build tribal communities, create good jobs across Indian Country, and provide Native Americans with the skills they need to do those jobs.
As a community college teacher, I love seeing what a tremendous difference a community like the one I saw at Navajo Tech can make in the lives of its students.
The impressive class of graduates included veterans like Jerrilene Kenneth, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army mechanic, before she became the first college graduate in her family with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. It also included Navajo Tech Student of the Year Sherwin Becenti, who dropped out of college more than ten years ago but returned to school in order to build a better life for his family and set a good example for his children. Dwight Carlston, who grew up with no running water or electricity, was also among the graduates. Dwight maintained a 3.8 grade point average, ran cross country, served as Student Senate President and was recently elected as the Student Congress president of all 38 tribal colleges.
- Posted byon May 10, 2013 at 9:00 AM EST
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to honor military mothers and show their appreciation and thanks for all the important work they do as well as the sacrifices their families have made in service of our country.
- Posted byon May 9, 2013 at 11:00 PM EST
This week, the President made his fourth trip to Mexico, continued on to Costa Rica, spoke to the graduating class of 2013 at The Ohio State University, hosted the new President of South Korea, discussed hurricane preparedness, and kicked off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour in the Lone Star State.
- Posted byon May 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM EST
This week, President Obama spoke at the Planned Parenthood conference and the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, met with the King of Jordan, made five personnel announcements, celebrated the sciences and the Joining Forces Initiative, and embarked on a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica.
- Posted byon April 30, 2013 at 12:09 PM EST
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Joining Forces initiative employment announcement for veterans and military spouses, in the East Room of the White House, April 30, 2013. Stage participants included, from left, Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Two years ago, President Obama announced a challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013.
Today, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden all participated in a Joining Forces Employment event at the White House.
The First Lady announced that America’s businesses nearly tripled the goal set by President Obama and did so eight months early. The private sector has already hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses.
The First Lady also announced that American companies have committed to hire or train another 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.
- Posted byon April 30, 2013 at 9:09 AM EST
Two years ago, we launched Joining Forces, a nationwide campaign to rally all Americans to support our veterans and military families. We did this for two simple reasons: because we were both awed by the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day to protect our values and keep us safe. We were also awed by their families, the spouses and children who serve right along with them, enduring deployment after deployment with grace and resolve.
As we traveled the country visiting bases and military communities, everywhere we went, we heard from veterans who had years of training and experience in the military -- leading dozens, even hundreds of their peers; operating some of the most advanced technology; and solving complex problems under the most extreme conditions imaginable. But when they returned home, they struggled to find decent jobs. We met military spouses who'd spent decades moving from base to base every couple of years and struggled to maintain their careers. As the months passed, we saw that the unemployment rate for our most recent veterans remained far too high above the national average.
These men and women are some of the highest-skilled, best-trained, hardest-working people in this country. They are medics and engineers, drivers and welders, computer technicians and machinists. They are eager to work and determined to keep on serving this country. All they need is a chance.
- Posted byon April 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM EST
This week, the Vice President traveled to Boston for a memorial for Officer Collier, and the President memorialized the victims of the West Texas explosion. The President also hosted the Amir of Qatar, the Teacher of the Year, the 3rd White House Science Fair, and visited Dallas with the First Lady for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
- Posted byon April 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM EST
Today, the President released his 2012 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $608,611. The Obamas paid $112,214 in total tax.
The President and First Lady also reported donating $150,034 – or about 24.6 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 33 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $103,871 to the Fisher House Foundation.
The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 18.4 percent. The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up. Under the President’s own tax proposals, including limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it.