The White House Blog: The President

  • The First-Ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., April 16, 2014. Students Zach Kuzma and Stephanie Womack demonstrate equipment that teaches students how to manipulate gears, pulleys, sprockets, etc. to adjust the speed and/or torque of a motor or system. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    To create new opportunities for more hard-working Americans, the President and his team are committed to advancing job-driven training initiatives that help American workers acquire the skills they need to succeed in good jobs that are available now. Expanding quality apprenticeship is a key strategy to make education and training programs more job-driven.

    As part of that effort, today, we hosted the first-ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship to gather the best ideas and to catalyze action to dramatically increase apprenticeship in America. More than 60 attendees presented their ideas — including leading employers, big and small, like IBM, Bank of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Oberg Industries; labor unions like the IBEW and SEIU; training providers like Ivy Tech and Lone Star Community Colleges; and local workforce leaders from states as diverse as Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

  • Weekly Address: Expanding Opportunity – It’s Time for Congressional Republicans to Do Their Part

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    In this week’s address, the President recapped his visits with folks who have written him letters about their own American stories -- their successes and struggles. While congressional Republicans are blocking meaningful measures that would strengthen the middle class, the President continues looking for ways to grow the economy and expand opportunity for more hardworking Americans.

    The President again urged Congress to join him, as they were elected to do, in working on behalf of everyday Americans – including those the President spent time with this week – by investing in our infrastructure to support American jobs, and ensuring that the Highway Trust Fund does not expire.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Weekly Wrap Up: "The Departed," Pizza, Pool, and Fireworks

    This week, President Obama sat down with everyday Americans who wrote him from around the country; he grabbed some pizza and shot some pool in Denver; he chowed down on some BBQ in Austin; and we celebrated Independence Day at the White House. 

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

    POTUS Channels "The Departed"

    Yesterday, President Obama capped off a three-day road trip with a visit to Austin, Texas, where he sat down for coffee with a letter writer, delivered a speech on the economy, and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint.

    In his speech at the historic Paramount Theatre, the President took a line from "The Departed" to describe Republicans in Congress:

    There’s a great movie called “The Departed” -- a little violent for kids. But there’s a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg -- they’re on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that they’re tracking. And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy. And the guy looks up and he says, “Well, who are you?” And Wahlberg says, “I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.” Sometimes, I feel like saying to these guys, I’m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy.

  • West Wing Week 07/11/14 or, "Responding to Your Letter...In Person!"

    This Fourth of July week, the President welcomed some newly naturalized Americans, and spent time with middle-class Americans in Denver and Austin, while Dr. Jill Biden wrapped up a week-long trip to Africa. 

    Watch on YouTube

  • SupplierPay and QuickPay: Strengthening America's Small Businesses

    Today, President Obama announced the creation of SupplierPay, a new partnership with the private sector that will strengthen America's small businesses by increasing their working capital. He's also renewing the QuickPay initiative for federal small business subcontractors, which the President launched in 2011.

    If you're scratching your head and asking yourself, "What does that mean, exactly?" — don't worry. We'll do our best to break it down for you.

    Why do we need to strengthen small businesses?

    Small businesses are vital to our nation's economy. Not only do they employ half of America's workers, but they create almost two out of every three new American jobs, and they're often the source of great innovation.

    The Great Recession disproportionately affected small businesses, as they lost 40 percent more jobs than the rest of the private sector combined. Although they're still creating most of our new jobs, 66 percent of small businesses say that they find it "difficult to raise new business financing," according to a recent Pepperdine and D&B study.

    What's more, it often takes too long for small businesses to get paid for their products and services. Estimates show that the average small business invoice goes unpaid for almost two months, and "past due" payments are increasing. This causes small businesses to spend unnecessary funds in order to cover the cash flow issues caused by late payments — funds that could be spent on growing their businesses and creating new jobs instead.

  • A Day in the Life: Austin

    President Obama capped off a three-day road trip with a visit to Austin, Texas, where he sat down for coffee with a letter writer, delivered a speech on the economy, and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint.

    Relive the President's day in Austin right here. (And, if you want to write the President yourself, you can always do that here.)

    In the morning, the President grabbed coffee with Kinsey Button, who wrote him a few months ago.

    Kinsey Button is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. She wrote the President talking about her family's struggles, after both of her parents lost their jobs.

    Kinsey said she's always been passionate about politics and engaging with this country's most important issues -- but after the government shutdown last year, she wrote in her letter that she felt like Washington wasn't listening.

  • The President Discusses the Humanitarian Situation at the Southwest Border

    Watch on YouTube

    After meeting with local officials, faith leaders, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Obama delivered a statement yesterday evening on the humanitarian situation at the border.

    He first described two of the crucial components of this ongoing crisis. First, the surge of unaccompanied children, and children with adults, is occurring in one concentrated sector at the border -- the Rio Grande Valley. Second, many of these children and their parents are not looking to evade law enforcement; rather, they are being apprehended in large numbers.

    In his remarks, the President reiterated the steps that his Administration is taking to ensure that sufficient resources are being provided to this region of the border:

  • The President's Been Busy This Year

    "Let's make this a year of action."

    That's what President Obama said in this year's State of the Union address — and he's been doing his part. Since January, the President has taken more than 40 executive actions to help families across the country succeed.

    The President has helped to make student loan payments more affordable, support equal pay and workplace flexibility, cut carbon pollution, and raise the minimum wage for all workers on new federal contracts. And those are just a handful of the actions he's taken.

    Find out how the President is working to ensure opportunity for all Americans.

    Learn more about the President's actions this year.

  • President Obama Speaks on the Economy in Denver

    Watch on YouTube

    On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Denver's Cheesman Park, President Obama delivered remarks about the economy, the progress that his Administration has made, and how Republican obstructionism is making it more difficult for Americans achieve their full potential.

    The President opened his remarks poking fun at Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over their pool game from last night at the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

    "You should not ask him who won," the President joked. "No, no, really, don't ask Governor Hickenlooper who won at pool."

    The President then quickly got down to business, telling the audience exactly what he was there to talk about:

    Every day, we get thousands of letters and emails at the White House. I think it's something like 40,000 a day of some sort of correspondence. And every night, our Correspondence Office selects 10 letters for me to read. And I've been doing that since I first came into office. And it's one of the most important things I do -- it's right there next to my national security briefing and whatever policy issues that we're supposed to be working on -- because it reminds me of why I ran for office.

  • What You Wrote the President

    Ed. note: Earlier today, the Director of Presidential Correspondence, Fiona Reeves, sent an email to the White House list. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for updates.

    Two weeks ago, President Obama asked you to write and tell him how you're doing. And I can tell you, as one of the people who helps sort through the mail here at the White House, that a lot of you answered.

    You told us how you're feeling about your family, your community, and our country. You shared stories about what's been going well, and what you wish was better.

    So if you were wondering if those letters actually get read, the answer is yes.

    Your stories paint a broader picture of how things have changed these past few years, and I wanted to share a few of them. Here's what folks had to say:

    Desirae, Anacortes, WA:

    "I guess I can tell you about myself now. I am a 26 year old single mother. My son is the light of my life. We live in a small city called Anacortes, located in Skagit County, Washington. It's beautiful here. A lot of the people that live here were raised here, and they have family and friends all around town. For me, it's just my son and I. His father was born and raised here, and the majority of his family is located here, too. We separated shortly after my son's first birthday, though. … I've had to do a lot of fighting to get where I am now, and I feel like I have so much more to do. I think you know what that feels like."