The White House Blog: The President

  • North Carolina Is Home to America’s Newest High-Tech Manufacturing Hub

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    President Obama made two stops during his trip to Raleigh today: the first to tour a company called Vacon, where workers design the drives that power everything from elevators to the giant fans that help cool buildings, and the second to deliver remarks at North Carolina State University, home of one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country.

    “The reason I came here today is because we've got to do more to connect universities like NC State with companies like Vacon to make America the number-one place in the world to open new businesses and create new jobs,” President Obama explained.

    And, to help make Raleigh-Durham a magnet for the good, high-tech manufacturing jobs that we need to grow the middle class and keep this country on the cutting edge, President Obama announced today that the area will be home to the nation’s newest manufacturing innovation hub.

    Like the hub launched in Ohio last year to develop and train workers in 3-D printing technology, the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute in North Carolina will bring leading companies, universities, and federal research together under one roof to help develop the next generation of power electronics. 

    “Folks at this hub are going to develop what are called ‘wide bandgap semiconductors,’” President Obama said.

    President Barack Obama tours Vacon USA

    President Barack Obama tours Vacon USA with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, right, Vacon Vice President Dan Isaksson, left, and Vacon engineer Rod Washington, in Durham, N.C., Jan. 15, 2014. Vacon is a company that manufactures AC drives, which are used to control the speed of electric motors to maximize energy efficiency. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    “For all you non-engineers out there,” he said, “here’s what it means in the simplest terms.”

    Semiconductors, obviously, are at the heart of every piece of the electronics that we use every day -- your smartphone, your television set, these days everything … Wide bandgap semiconductors, they’re special because they lose up to 90 percent less power; they can operate at higher temperatures than normal semiconductors. 

    So that means they can make everything from cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster, cheaper. 

    “And the country that figures out how to do this first, and the companies that figure how to do this best,” President Obama said, “they’re the ones that are going to attract the jobs that come with it.”


  • Expanding College Opportunity

    Tomorrow, December 16, college and university presidents and leadersfrom nonprofits, foundations, state governments, and the private sector will join President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to discuss expanding college opportunity.

    The day-long event will feature remarks from the President, First Lady, and senior administration officials, as well as a series of panel discussions.

    Additional information is available at wh.gov/college-opportunity, so check back to learn more. You can also tune in to whitehouse.gov/live to watch the event, starting at 9:00 am ET.  


  • Wide Bandgap Semiconductors: Essential to Our Technology Future

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from energy.gov. See the original post here.

    Hidden inside nearly every modern electronic is a technology -- called power electronics -- that is quietly making our world run. Yet, as things like our phones, appliances and cars advance, current power electronics will no longer be able to meet our needs, making it essential that we invest in the future of this technology.

    Today, President Obama will announce that North Carolina State University will lead the Energy Department’s new manufacturing innovation institute for the next generation of power electronics. The institute will work to drive down the costs of and build America’s manufacturing leadership in wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power electronics -- leading to more affordable products for businesses and consumers, billions of dollars in energy savings and high-quality U.S. manufacturing jobs.

    Integral to consumer electronics and many clean energy technologies, power electronics can be found in everything from electric vehicles and industrial motors, to laptop power adaptors and inverters that connect solar panels and wind turbines to the electric grid. For nearly 50 years, silicon chips have been the basis of power electronics. However, as clean energy technologies and the electronics industry has advanced, silicon chips are reaching their limits in power conversion -- resulting in wasted heat and higher energy consumption.


  • President Obama Welcomes the 2013 NBA Champions the Miami Heat

    Today, President Obama welcomed the Miami Heat back to the White House to honor the team for winning their second-straight championship title. 

    "Last season, the Heat put together one of the most dominating regular seasons ever by a defending champion," President Obama said. "They won a team-record 66 games.  At one point, they won 27 games straight -- the second-longest winning streak ever."

    Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra presents President Barack Obama with a team trophy

    Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra presents President Barack Obama with a team trophy to honor the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat on winning their second-straight Championship title, in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    The President congratulated head coach Eric Spoelstra, team president Pat Riley, and members of the staff and crew, and gave a special congrats to the all-star Heat lineup for their hard work last season including finals MVP Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and of course-- "Birdman, Birdman's tattoos and Birdman's mohawk"

    LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade present President Barack Obama with a basketball and a jersey

    LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade present President Barack Obama with a basketball and a jersey during an event to honor the 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat, Miami Heat President Pat Riley, and Coach Erik Spoelstra on winning their second-straight Championship title, in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "The Heat showed us the kind of heart and determination it takes to be a champion," the President said. "And they also showed what heart means off the court."

    Last year, the team raised close to $2 million for local charities. And today, while at the White House, players met with wounded warriors from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. 


  • President Obama Holds the First Cabinet Meeting of 2014

    President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2014

    President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Jan. 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This is going to be a year of action.

    That’s what President Obama told his Cabinet today at their first official meeting of the new year.

    “We’ve got a lot to do in 2014,” he said. “We want to maximize the pace of our recovery, but most importantly, we want to make sure that every American is able to benefit from that recovery, that we’re not leaving anybody behind and everybody is getting a fair shot.”

    The President said he was pleased Congress has put forward a bill to fund the government, and called on lawmakers to take action on other important issues, including extending emergency unemployment insurance and passing legislation to reform our immigration system.

    “I’m looking forward to working with Democrats and Republicans, House members and Senate members, to try to continue to advance the economic recovery and to provide additional ladders of opportunity for everybody,” President Obama said.


  • Get Ready: President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address

    JANUARY 28th, 2014  9PM ET State of the Union

     

    President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address (February 12, 2013)

    President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

     

    On Tuesday, January 28 at 9pm ET, President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address.

    This year there will be more ways than ever to take part in the State of the Union, including a new way to watch the speech and share exclusive graphics with your social networks, and opportunities to discuss President Obama’s remarks with White House officials immediately following the address.

    If you plan on watching from home, we will be streaming an enhanced version of the speech on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU that features graphics, data and charts that help explain policies and the issues. You can also tune in live on FacebookYouTubeGoogle+ and through our mobile apps

    In the mean time, here’s how to stay updated, and learn more about how you can watch, share and discuss the speech.

    • Get email updates: Sign up and make sure you’re among the first to get exclusive content before and after the speech
    • Follow us on Twitter: Make sure you’re following @WhiteHouse on Twitter for news and real-time updates before, during and after the address.
    • WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU: Officially launching early next week, WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU will be your number one resource for all things State of the Union, and the best place to watch the enhanced livestream of President Obama’s address, featuring charts, graphs, data and more to help explain the issues and policies he’s discussing alongside the remarks. 


  • Weekly Address: Ensuring 2014 is a Year of Action to Grow the Economy

    In this week’s address, President Obama calls 2014 a year of action, which should start with Congress quickly passing emergency unemployment insurance for the 1.3 million Americans who lost this vital lifeline as they fight to find jobs and make ends meet.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: “Every kid in this country can make it”

    Promise Zones: The President announced on Thursday the first five “Promise Zone” locations, an initiative to partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility.

    President Obama was joined in the East Room by students from Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational undertaking that inspired the Promise Zones, where he spoke about the importance of making sure a child’s path isn’t determined by their zip code, but rather by their hard work and determination. In his speech, the President mentioned how he wasn’t so different from one of the students who has benefitted from the Harlem Children’s Zone.

    “If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.

    There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it. 

    The Promise Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are the first of 20 being launched over the next three years. You can read his full remarks here.

    Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance: On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Two weeks ago, Congress failed to renew the vital lifeline that temporarily extends insurance for 1.3 million Americans who are currently looking for work. “Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it zaps their motivation to get a new job,” the President said.


  • You Can Say This Better Than We Ever Could

    The very best people to describe what having new health insurance means -- what it feels like -- isn't me, or any White House policy staffer. It's not even the President.

    It's people like you -- or your neighbor, coworker, sister, or partner.

    It's anyone who woke up on the morning of January 1st with the peace of mind, security, and quiet dignity that comes with taking your health care into your own hands.

    We've been hearing from a lot of you. Your stories are powerful, and they keep coming in.

    Read what 10 different Americans had to say about what being covered now means to them. Then, join them and share a story of your own.

    JoAnn S., Florida

    "I haven't had insurance in years and my husband had a shared insurance junk-type policy. The day I signed up on Dec 10, I actually cried when the application went through. I got my first premium notice in the mail yesterday and was never so happy to see a bill before."

    Gayla W., New Hampshire

    "I lost my job last April. My partner and I both have pre-existing conditions so our only option was to COBRA my employer-provided plan -- at a cost of $1,676 a month. It was a good plan, but now we have a comparable plan through the ACA for $87 a month. I can't describe just how life changing this is for us. We can afford to live again."


  • President Obama: “A child’s course in life should be determined not by the zip code she’s born in”

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing the first five "Promise Zones"

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing the first five "Promise Zones," in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, President Obama announced the first five “Promise Zone” locations across the U.S. The program, first unveiled at his State of the Union address last year, is an initiative that partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility and security.

    Joined by students from the Harlem Children’s Zone -- a 17 year undertaking that found children will do better if those around them are doing better -- the President spoke in the East Room of the White House on the importance of making sure everyone who works hard has a fair shot at success, no matter where they come from or who they are. “A child’s course in life should be determined not by the zip code she’s born in, but by the strength of her work ethic and the scope of her dreams,” the President said.

    As an example of how communities can change children’s lives, the President told the story of Roger Brown from Harlem. Roger spent some time in the foster care system before going to live with his mom, who entered his name into the Promise Academy Charter School lottery, where he received a spot. During school, Roger was the class clown and acted out but his teachers didn’t give up on him and kept pushing him. So he buckled down and became the first person in his family to go to college.

    “If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.

    There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it.