The White House Blog: The President

  • A Day in Ohio: Secretaries Perez and Duncan Go to Toledo

    Labor Secretary Tom Perez is traveling with Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Toledo, Ohio, today to see first-hand model programs and partnerships that are equipping Americans with the knowledge, skills and industry-relevant education they need to get on the pathway to a successful career.

    We want to make sure you see what they see, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from their day.

    First stop: The Toledo Technology Academy.

    The path to good jobs begins in grade school. Students in grades 7 – 12 receive an intense integrated academic and technical education that prepares them for a rewarding, life-long career in engineering or manufacturing technologies. Along with more “typical” high school classes, they receive hands-on training in plastics technologies, automated systems, manufacturing operations, computer-automated design, electronics and other manufacturing technologies. The academy works closely with employers – including the local GM plant – to provide students with industry recognized credentials and certification. Students also can earn advanced credit at local 2- and 4-year colleges. In April, the Toledo Public School System was awarded a $3.8 million Youth CareerConnect grant that will expand the Toledo Technology Academy’s model to serve more students.

    ...Where students on the robotics team earn a varsity letter.


  • President Obama Awards the 2013 National Medals of Arts and Humanities

    Watch on YouTube

    This afternoon, the President and the First Lady honored the 2013 National Medals of the Arts and Humanities recipients at the White House. The President told the recipients that their "accomplishments enrich our lives and reveal something about ourselves and our country."

    This year's recipients consisted of a diverse array of indidivuals and groups who have done groundbreaking work in the arts and humanities, including architecture, choreography, East Asian Studies, and documentary filmmaking – all of whom have made significant contributions to the human experience.


  • Empowering Africa's Next Generation of Leaders

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks and answers questions at the Young African Leaders Initiative town hall

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks and answers questions at the Young African Leaders Initiative town hall in Washington, D.C., July 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama’s town hall today with 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders provided an inspiring window into what the future holds for Africa, and the world.

    The 500 participants in the Washington Fellowship program were selected from nearly 50,000 applicants from across Africa, as part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was launched by President Obama in 2010, as part of a long-term investment in the next generation of African leaders. It aims to sharpen their skills, to improve their networks, and to strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa for years to come.

    The President announced during the town hall that the Washington Fellowship was being renamed as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, in honor of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Mandela Washington Fellows represent the best and brightest from communities across Africa, and fields ranging from education, medicine, law, business, and beyond. These are the young leaders whose skills, passion, and visions for the future, will help shape the fate of their countries and the world. It is in everyone’s best interest to help them prepare with the tools they need to build a healthier, more secure, more prosperous, and more peaceful Africa, which is why President Obama launched YALI in the first place. 


  • Boosting Our Global Competitiveness: It’s Time to Invest in America’s Roads, Rails, and Bridges

    When it comes to investing in our infrastructure, the President’s message has been loud and clear: We must upgrade our roads and rails and bridges to grow our economy and create good American jobs. Over the last five decades, U.S. investments in transportation have fallen by nearly 50 percent as a percentage of GDP. So it is not surprising that in the most recent World Economic Forum rankings, the U.S. has fallen from 7th to 18th overall in the quality of our roads in less than a decade.

    Earlier this month, we released a report that shows our transportation infrastructure system is in dire need of investment. The data tells an important story: 65 percent of America’s major roads are rated in less than good condition; one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic; and 45 percent of Americans lack access to transit.

    We know what we need to do – and there are two compelling reasons for doing it right now. First, our global competiveness is directly linked to the strength of our infrastructure – investing in it can serve as a clear source of competitive advantage. Second, these investments will create jobs, help American businesses, and grow our economy. The President has put forth a long-term proposal that would make these investments and pay for them by closing unfair tax loopholes and making commonsense reforms to our business tax system. The President’s GROW AMERICA Act would support millions of jobs and position our economy for lasting growth. 


  • Training a Workforce for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Jobs

    It’s no secret that the American economy is changing, and some of the most in-demand skills today barely existed a generation ago. The average worker graduated high school around twenty years ago, when the personal computer was in its infancy, and only the most technical professions demanded a fluency in information technology (IT).

    But times have changed, and some of the best ladders to well-paying, middle-class jobs are in IT fields across our economy. That’s because the average salary in a job that requires IT skills -- whether in manufacturing, advertising, hospitality, or banking -- is more than one and a half times higher than the average private-sector American job.

    This week, the President and Vice President are announcing important reforms in the way Federal programs train and retrain workers. To meet the demand for IT and cybersecurity skills, we will also be kicking off a significant new effort focused on bridging the gap between workers, technology skills, and employers.


  • Watch Live: Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

    Today, President Obama kicks off a three-day Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Washington Fellowship gives 500 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most prominent young leaders the opportunity to engage with U.S. government officials, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives, as well as leaders in international development.

    Watch President Obama's town hall -- and tune in for events throughout the week with First Lady Michelle Obama, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and more.


  • Weekly Address: Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, July 25, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, July 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President continued his call for our nation to rally around an economic patriotism that says rather than protecting wasteful tax loopholes for a few at the top, we should be investing in things like education and job training that grow the economy for everybody.

    The President highlighted the need to close one of the most unfair tax loopholes that allows companies to avoid paying taxes here at home by shifting their residence for tax purposes out of the country. The President has put forth a budget that does just that, and he has called for business tax reform that makes investment in the United States attractive, and creates incentives for companies to invest and create jobs here at home. And while he will continue to make the case for tax reform, the President is calling on Congress to take action and close this loophole now.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: Astronauts, "Inversions," and the VP and a White Board

    This week, some astronauts stopped by the White House (hint: think 1969), we talked about "inversions" (more on that later), the President awarded the Medal of Honor, and the Vice President got a marker and white board and gave us a little bit of history on our nation's infrastructure.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    "You Are Why I Ran for President in the First Place"

    Yesterday, President Obama spoke under sunny skies at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. He talked about the progress that we've made since he took office and training our workers for a 21st-century economy.

    Watch on YouTube

    The President called for a new sense of optimism and collective patriotism in this country: "Cynicism is a choice, and hope is a better choice. And if we can work together, I promise you there's no holding America back."

    He also talked about something known as "inversions." What's an "inversion," you ask? Learn more here.


  • West Wing Week 07/25/14 or, "The Irrefutable Rightness of Your Cause"

    This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he'd received ... in person. 

    Watch on YouTube


  • Celebrating 24 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) -- a landmark law that transformed American society for people with disabilities. It provided for full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those of us living with disabilities, and also provided Americans with disabilities with legal remedies to safeguard all of those rights.

    Watch the President’s ADA anniversary message below:

    Watch on YouTube

    Read the President’s proclamation in support of the anniversary here.