Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

“It is our generation’s task, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth —
a rising, thriving middle class,”

— President Barack Obama

Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

Business in America News

  • President Obama Meets with the Business Roundtable

    President Barack Obama at the Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting

    President Barack Obama takes questions following the Business Roundtable Quarterly Meeting held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., March 6, 2012. BRT Chairman James McNerney is seated with the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama met with top business leaders on Tuesday night and he talked about the need to focus on our core strengths in order to grow the American economy: American manufacturing; American energy; American innovation; and ensuring American workers have the best skills and education.

    The association, whose members include top executives from some of the largest corporations in the country, gathered in Washington, DC to discuss a report it is releasing today called “Taking Action for America: A CEO Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.” It had been two years since the President last met with the group, and he highlighted many of the gains the economy has made in that time, including the addition of more than 3.7 million new jobs in the private sector and the resurgence of the American auto industry. President Obama also discussed the need to do more than restore our economy to pre-crisis levels -- we need to position ourselves to be competitive in this 21st century economy over the long term and create an economy built to last:

    We’re also going to have to make significant investments in American energy.  I am very proud of the fact that American energy output is reaching record levels.  We are seeing the highest oil production in the last eight years.  At the same time, because so many of your companies have become more efficient, we’re actually seeing a reduction in imports -- in fact, below 50 percent for the first time back in 2010, the first time in a decade. 

    But we’ve got more work to do, and it’s going to require an all-of-the-above strategy.  Obviously, folks are getting killed right now with gas prices.  And that has an impact on all of your companies, because consumers are more price sensitive when it comes to filling up their gas tank than just about anything else.  That means, yes, we’ve got to produce more oil and more natural gas, and we are game for that.  It also means, though, we’ve got to invest in the energy sources of the future. 

     

  • Mentoring the Startup Entrepreneur: An Ancient Human Dance

    What an incredible honor to be named a White House Champion of Change. In thinking about entrepreneurship and the importance of mentors to the process of creating and launching a company, I wanted to share a few thoughts that have profoundly affected my own journey as an entrepreneur and a mentor.

    I’m a product of Mississippi. I was born in the rural, northeastern part of the state known as Booneville. Our family farm was about 15 miles outside the city limits. Gravel roads, soybean fields, small farmhouses, and a sizzling summer sun are some of the images that come to mind. I grew up on the same soil as my great grandfather,my grandfather, and my father. Our hardships were the salt of a true, all-American childhood, and I value that legacy.

    My commitment to service comes from my parents. My father is a minister. My mom is a nurse. At a very young age, I had the opportunity to see the “care” side of healthcare through my mom and the pastoral side of mentoring through my father.  My parents love me unconditionally. When faced with life’s many challenges, when we know we are loved in this way I’ve come to believe that we, as individuals, can push ourselves far beyond what the average person would normally do.  It’s an intangible quality, and I admit it can be difficult to teach, but when even a small piece of this becomes integrated into the mentoring process, that’s where the magic happens—that’s when lives are changed and companies are born.

  • Hiring Veterans: Good for a Company’s Bottom Line

    This week, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) -- a national leader in veteran and military family research -- released an extraordinary study entitled “The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran: Beyond the Cliches.” 

    Among others things, the study confirmed what many of us already knew – hiring America’s veterans makes great sense and is a terrific investment for any company in America. I encourage wide dissemination of this report to corporate leaders throughout the nation.

    Significant findings include:

    • Veterans are entrepreneurial:  It’s true – there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned small businesses in franchising alone. America is also stepping up in big ways to support the veteran entrepreneurial spirit -- several new programs aim to entice veterans to the world of franchising. The International Franchise Association runs one called VetFran, which requires that parent companies give veteran franchisees their “best deal” possible — often resulting in thousands of dollars off the initial franchising fee. There are more than 450 companies participating, and at least 2,100 veterans have opened franchises through the program so far.  Some companies go even further — the UPS Store recently announced it was giving away free franchises to 10 veterans who qualify (five have already been given out.) In February, CiCi’s Pizza announced it will waive the franchise fee and offer a 50 percent cut on royalty fees to all qualified veterans who open CiCi’s franchises and hire a veteran manager.
    • Veterans have - and leverage - advanced technical training: Beyond just having the technical training, veterans are already graduates of the world’s best training program – the Unites States military!
    • Veterans exhibit advanced team-building skills: When I was in command of a Guided Missile Destroyer, I use to tell my crew, “When the team wins, you win…” It’s true – when companies do well; employees benefit (and vice versa). Veterans understand the meaning of “the team comes first” and they bring that same mentality to any company.
    • Veterans exhibit strong organizational commitment: Loyalty goes a long way in the military – and that same organizational commitment stays with Veterans when they join corporate America. It’s an intangible that can’t be taught.
    • Veterans have experience mastering diverse work settings: Veterans have had to perform in the toughest of circumstances. The mountains of eastern Afghanistan; villages in Kandahar; Baghdad; Mosul; Ramadi and so many more… the acquired skills and experience that American veterans have gained in the last 10 years of war can’t be taught or replicated in the classroom. 

  • Business Lending Showing New Signs of Strength

    Over the past three years, the Obama administration has made it a top priority to increase access to capital for small business owners across America.  When I came to SBA in early 2009, small business owners would say to me, “I need a loan to survive.”  Since that time, SBA has worked hard to provide small businesses with access to capital – even during the depth of the recession. Thanks to the Recovery Act and the Small Business Jobs Act, SBA had a record year in FY2010, supporting more than $30 billion in small business lending across the country

    Now we’re getting encouraging news that business lending is showing new signs of strength. You may have seen that the FDIC recently released data showing that banks had their biggest increase in business lending in four years.   And the Wall Street Journal recently wrote “At Last! Banks Are Making New Loans.” Lately, small business owners are no longer telling me they’re fighting for survival; they’re talking about needing a loan to take advantage of a new opportunity, hire another worker or buy more inventory. There are additional signs that more money is getting into the hands of business owners. The Department of Treasury began receiving reports from the banks that participated in the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF). Already these financial institutions, mostly community banks, have increased their small business lending by $3.5 billion. And, the 27 states participating in the State Small Business Credit Initiative are also putting the funds to use, supporting lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.

    Of course, we all know that even though lending is on the rise, there’s still more to be done. That’s why SBA is working hard to continue filling gaps in the market place. For example, we’re working with some of the largest lenders around the country, who last year committed $20 billion for small business lending over the next three years.  We’re also working to streamline our processes and make it easier for small businesses to benefit from our programs.  We recently revamped the CAPLines program to provide a working line of capital to certain businesses, including manufacturers and government contractors. We also created new programs, such as Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage, which incentivizes lenders to make small-dollar loans and opens up SBA programs to new lenders, such as CDFIs.  

    We’re confident that this is just the beginning of the momentum small businesses need to keep growing and creating jobs. Everyone at SBA recognizes that this is a critical time for small businesses, and we’re committed to helping them get the financing they need so they can lay the foundation for an economy built to last.

  • Joining Forces Commitment Met: Chamber of Commerce Holds 100 Hiring Fairs for Veterans and Military Spouses

    As First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces last April, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring Our Heroes” program committed to host 100 hiring fairs across the country with the top notch companies they work with on a daily basis.

    Earlier today in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Chamber met that commitment. In just 11 months, the Chamber has hosted 100 of these fairs in 45 states and the District of Columbia and more than 8,000 veterans and military spouses have already landed jobs -- and the best is yet to come.

    Starting this month, the Chamber will host 400 hiring fairs in the next year throughout the U.S. They will work with their Employment Advisory Council – which is made up of more than 20 of America’s largest companies and represents 25 million jobs – to find solid jobs for even more veterans and military spouses . The Chamber will also make improvements to their fairs by layering in in classes on resume writing, financial literacy, interview prep, mentorig opportunities, advice on dressing for success, and much more.  

    The Chamber has a new focused effort on hiring military spouses too. Last January, they launched a stand-alone program for military spouses and formed the Military Spouse Business Alliance with nine leading military family non-profits. The first-of-its-kind program will include 20 hiring fairs at military installations in the coming year that will include resumé and interview workshops, small-group mentoring with senior women executives and military spouses, an entrepreneurs’ pavilion, and image workshops.  

    “Hiring Our Heroes” will also launch a campaign focused on small business engagement later this month. Driven largely by the Chamber’s ability to reach 3 million of its own small business members, the Chamber will get thousands of small businesses across America to commit to veteran and military spouse hiring.

    Through their strong partnerships with Joining Forces, the public sector, non-profits, and veteran services organizations, the Chamber will spread this movement to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers across America.

    Stand by for a great 2012!

    Hiring Our Heroes event at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum

    Hiring Our Heroes 100th hiring fair at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 2, 2012. (by Ian Wagreich/U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

  • Nine New Administrative Patent Judges Will Help Entrepreneurs Turn Ideas Into Jobs

    As part of our ongoing efforts to make government more accountable to the American people and cut wasteful spending, yesterday I had the honor of swearing in nine new administrative patent judges who will help reduce patent backlogs. These nine talented and dynamic individuals will serve on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), joining the dedicated public servants at USPTO who support millions of jobs in the intellectual property industry.

    Today, a high share of companies regularly relying on robust intellectual property (IP) protections to attract investor capital and stay competitive. These IP-intensive firms create an average of three million U.S. jobs per year. More than ever, we must be efficient and effective in helping entrepreneurs protect their intellectual property.

    America’s entrepreneurs are the primary source of new ideas that drive innovation. Entrepreneurs provide us with better production processes, new advances in health, and improved consumer products. These are people who can move from ideas to products and from products to the marketplace. These activities strengthen our economy and our global competitiveness. And they create jobs.These new administrative jurists will directly help to reduce backlogs that prevent game-changing ideas from breaking through. Specifically, they will help with the new in-house review process for challenging patents that have already been granted. This process is faster and less expensive than litigation.

  • President Obama Speaks to United Auto Workers

    President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Auto Workers (UAW) Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Today, President Obama spoke at the United Auto Workers Annual Conference to discuss the success of the American auto industry.

    After nearly collapsing three years ago, our nation's big three automakers are turning profits and opening new factories. The industry has added more than 200,000 jobs. And those workers aren't just building cars again--they are building better, more fuel efficient automobiles that help Americans save money at the pump every time they fill up. The cars they are building to meet new fuel efficiency standards will average 55 miles to the gallon by 2025, cutting our oil consumption by 2 million barrels a day.

    When the President took office, our nation’s three largest automakers were on the brink of failure. The economy was in complete free fall and private  investors weren’t willing to take a chance on the auto industry. Doing nothing, as some proposed, would have cost more than a million Americans their jobs, and threatened the livelihood of many more in the communities that depend on the industr. As President Obama explained today:

    Think about what that choice would have meant for this country, if we had turned our backs on you, if America had thrown in the towel, if GM and Chrysler had gone under. The suppliers, the distributors that get their business from these companies, they would have died off.  Then even Ford could have gone down as well. Production shut down. Factories shuttered. Once-proud companies chopped up and sold off for scraps. And all of you, the men and women who built these companies with your own hands, would have been hung out to dry.

    President Obama wasn’t willing to let that happen. He stepped in and offered the support automakers needed in return for some restructuring on their end:

    [W]e were not going to take a knee and do nothing. We were not going to give up on your jobs and your families and your communities.  So in exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We said to the auto industry, you're going to have to truly change, not just pretend like you're changing.  And thanks to outstanding leadership…we were able to get labor and management to settle their differences. 

  • Small Manufacturers Driving Job Creation, Economic Growth

    Ed note: This was originally published on Open for Business, the official blog of the SBA

    Made in America is hot.  More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since the start of 2010 and there are currently about 229,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector, according to data from the Labor Department.

    America’s small manufacturers are a critical part of that. According to BLS and Census data, 98 percent of America’s manufacturing firms are small.  More than one in three Americans who work in manufacturing, work at a small business.  

    Everyone from the President on down has been working very hard to make sure these firms have the tools they need to grow and create jobs.

    For example, in 2010, President Obama signed into law the Small Business Jobs Act. One of the most important provisions was increasing the limit on SBA loans from $2 million to $5 million. The higher loan limits directly helped nearly 2,500 small businesses – including nearly 450 small manufacturers – with access to over $10.2 billion to help buy new buildings, buy more equipment, and hire more workers. 

    We’re building on that momentum by taking even more steps to help small manufacturers.

  • Training Workers with the Skills Employers Need

    The Community College to Career Tour at Davidson County Community College

    Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis make remarks at Davidson County Community College, in Thomasville, North Carolina, February 24, 2012. The Vice President Joined Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis for the last stop of their community college tour to announce the availability of $500 million to fund partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers with skills employers need. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last Friday, Vice President Biden joined Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at Davidson County Community College in Thomasville, North Carolina to discuss the importance of training workers with the skills employers need right now. This visit was the final leg of a five-state, three-day Community College to Career Bus Tour that Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis took to highlight the $8 billion Community College to Career Fund recently proposed as part of the President’s FY 2013 Budget.

    Speaking to over 300 faculty, students, and other members of the Davidson community, the Vice President argued that America’s skilled workforce is one of our greatest economic assets.  But now that many American manufacturers and other businesses are growing again, too many are having trouble finding workers with the exact skills they need.  That’s why it’s so important to forge partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers with the skills that employers need for jobs that are open right now.  On Friday, the Vice President announced that the Administration is taking further steps to do exactly that by making available another $500 million to create and expand these partnerships as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training grant program. 

    The Administration’s efforts to create and expand these training partnerships are already showing results at places like Davidson County Community College (DCCC).  Thanks to a grant they received in the first round of this program, DCCC has been able to expand their partnerships with local companies to train workers with the skills they need—companies like Ingersoll Rand, which is working with DCCC to train workers with computer numerically controlled manufacturing skills, or Unilin Flooring, which is training workers in electronics engineering.  And these programs are working—in fact, every single graduate of the electronics engineering program at Davidson County Community College has been able to secure a job, many of them at companies like Unilin.  

  • First Lady and Dr. Biden Urge Action from State Governors on Military Spouse Hiring

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the 2012 NGA meeting (February 27, 2012)

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden discuss military spouse employment at the National Governors Association annual meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Earlier this morning, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, the annual meeting that brings state leaders to Washington, D.C. to discuss important issues impacting all Americans.

    Today, the First Lady and Dr Biden had one message for the governors: urging them to take action on the state level to support America’s military spouses. 

    In their travels to military bases across America and throughout the world over the last three years, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have heard stories from countless military family members and spouses.  One of the top issues they hear about everywhere they go deals with the professional licensing requirements that affect how military spouses can move forward in their careers. 

    Less than two weeks ago, the First Lady and Dr. Biden joined the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all of the Joint Chiefs in rolling out a new report on state licensing.   

    This is an enormous issue for military spouses throughout this country. There are more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in the dozens of professions that require a state license or credential – teachers, nurses, childcare providers, dental hygienists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists and many other professionals. Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards – a process that can sometimes take months to resolve.  

    As part of their address to military families and Pentagon leadership, the First Lady and Dr. Biden announced an ambitious goal: for 50 states to pass legislation that supports military spouse license portability by 2014. 

  • Eliminating Barriers to Growing our Economy

    Throughout today and the rest of the weekend, President Obama will be meeting with governors from around the country. Today, he met with Democratic governors and talked about ways the federal government and the states can work together to create jobs and grow the economy.  In particular, the President talked about ways to accelerate the growing trend of ‘insourcing’ – where companies are bringing jobs back to the United States and making additional investments here in America. The President’s conversation with governors about how we can work together to put Americans back to work and build an economy built to last will continue with a larger, bipartisan group of governors Monday. 

    Last year, around this time – along with similar meetings with governors – the President instructed agencies to work closely with State, local, and tribal governments to identify any Federal barriers that prevent efficient use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the best results.

    Today we’re releasing a report highlighting examples of where these new partnerships are leading to real benefits for States, which include:

    • More flexibility to design and implement education reforms.  In exchange for agreeing to implement bold reforms around standards and accountability, the Administration is granting flexibility to states from the burdensome mandates of No Child Left Behind. The Administration recently granted waivers to the first 11 States that applied and looks forward to working with additional States. 
    • New job and workforce opportunities through the $37 million Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to promote economic development in high-growth industries, the $15 million Rural Jobs Accelerator to support jobs development, and $166 million to hire veterans under 2012 grants for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER). 
    • Development of streamlined rules for Federal grants that focus resources on targeting high-risk areas to improve performance and target waste, fraud, and abuse. 
    • A forthcoming Executive Order to clear away the red tape that can slow down the construction of infrastructure projects. 

  • Report from the Road: An Ambitious Plan to Train Ohio Workers for New Jobs

    Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Dr. Jill Biden visit DG Medical

    Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and Dr. Jill Biden visit DG Medical on the Community College to Career Tour (CC2C). They will be stopping at locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina to highlight the importance of community colleges in fostering careers.22 February 2012

    Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis today kicked off a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight the unique role community colleges play in developing a flexible, highly-skilled 21st-century workforce to meet emerging regional business needs.  Secretary Solis is writing updates on the trip from the road.

    Dr. Biden and I just visited DG Medical in Centerville, Ohio, to hear about the incredible BioOhio Workforce development partnership that is helping community colleges like Sinclair Community College prepare Ohioans for jobs in the growing biomedical manufacturing industry.

    Sinclair is working with former GM/Delphi employees and other dislocated workers to get retraining to perform jobs making medical devices and life-saving drugs. They are part of a BioOhio partnership that has brought together industry leaders and six Ohio community colleges to match workforce needs with course offerings.

    The ambitious goal is to graduate 700 Ohioans and place them in biosciences jobs as clean technicians, shipping clerks, packaging experts, manufacturing technicians and test engineers.  More than half of existing program graduates already have found good-paying jobs in this field. Also, incumbent workers are being trained to move up the career ladder to become team leaders and front-line supervisors.

    Watching this unique partnership at work illustrates why health care industry job growth continues to help drive our recovery forward.

    Want to join the conversation by sharing how community colleges and industry partners are working together in your community?  Share your story at http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege/tour and follow and engage with the tour on Twitter with the hashtag #CCtour.

    You can see more of Secretary Solis' posts at Work in Progress, the Department of Labor's official blog.

    • Vice President Joe Biden,Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on the Community College Tour

      Vice President Biden greets Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis for the final stop of their Community College Tour

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    • Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at Davidson County Community College

      Vice President Biden, Dr. Biden, and Secretary of Labor Solis tour a manufacturing training facility at Davidson County Community College

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    • CC2C Tour Stops in Kentucky

      Dr. Jill Biden signs a poster for employees at the UPS Hub in Lexington, KY.

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    • All Smiles: Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis Attend a Bluegrass Community & Technical College Forum

      Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis enjoy a lighthearted moment during their CC2C Tour stop in Kentucky.

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    • Talking Workforce Development with Bluegrass Community & Technical College

      During the CC2C Tour, a participant of the "Kentucky Workforce Development Roundtable" shakes hands with Dr. Biden.

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    • CC2C at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
    • Making their Rounds: Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis at the "Kentucky Workforce Development Roundtable"

      Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis meet more participants from the "Kentucky Workforce Development Roundtable."

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    • DG Medical Staff Welcome Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis

      Women from the DG Medical staff greet Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis.

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    • Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis Meet with Mike Sieron at DG Medical

      Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis meet with Mike Sieron, President and CEO of DimcoGray and DG Medical.

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    • Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis Kick Off the Community College to Career (CC2C) Tour

      Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis start their Community College to Career (CC2C) Tour in Ohio.

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  • Calling All App Developers: $10,000 App Challenge Looking for Ways to Connect Businesses with Government

    Ed note: This post originally appeared on The Commerce Blog, the U.S. Department of Commerce's official blog.

    Today, in conjunction with the newly-launched BusinessUSA initiative, the Department of Commerce announced the launch of their business app challenge.  The $10,000 contest challenges app developers to find innovative ways to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. The business app challenge calls on developers to utilize at least one Department of Commerce data set in creating an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community.  Developers may choose the platform that best suits them. Applicants may design for the web, personal computer, mobile handheld device, or any platform broadly accessible to the open Internet. A list of developer-friendly data sets can be found on the Business Data and Tools page of Data.gov.

  • New Report Highlights Wireless Broadband Benefits for Public Safety and Job Creation

    Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Officials, Firefighters and Public Safety Groups

    Vice President Joe Biden holds a conference call in the West Wing to thank first responders and to discuss the economic value of increasing spectrum, Feb. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Vice President Biden met with law enforcement officials, firefighters and public safety groups in the Roosevelt Room and spoke to a couple hundred more first responders by telephone to thank them for their service and to discuss the new nationwide public-safety broadband network included in the Payroll Tax Extension legislation. 

    Members of the audience included police chiefs and sergeants from the New York City Police Department, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Association of Police Organization, among others. The Vice President discussed the need to ensure the safety of first responders and the public,and announced a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) that discusses the positive benefits of wireless broadband for public safety as well as jobs, growth, and investment.

    The report illustrates the economic impact of President Obama’s goal of doubling the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadcast over ten years, while adopting a nationwide inter operable wireless network. 

    Vice President Biden said the expanded access “will enable new spectrum to be used for innovation, to speed wireless communication, and to fulfill a promise made to first responders after 9/11 that they would have the technology they need to stay safe and do their jobs.”

    “I’ve been working on changing the way we allocate spectrum for a long time,” Vice President Biden said, “because a smarter system is good for our economy, good for innovation, and vital to keeping our communities as well as our cops, firefighters and EMTs safe.”

  • We Can’t Wait: Bringing New Investments to Rural Communities by Leveraging Existing Programs

    Since the formation of the White House Rural Council in June 2011, we have had a unique opportunity to provide recommendations on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.    

    The feedback we’re providing to the White House, based on our travels throughout the countryside, has helped us find creative ways to move the country forward without relying on Congress to act because rural Americans can’t wait.

    Today's announcements are the result of the Rural Council’s ability to cut across large federal agencies to deliver results for rural families and businesses.  Along with colleagues at the Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Labor, we announced three new ways to leverage existing programs and funding to drive economic growth in rural communities.

    These announcements include:

    • Promoting A Bioeconomy:  President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today directing the federal government to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years, which will create jobs and drive innovation where biobased products are grown and manufactured.  The biobased products sector marries the two most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing.  
    • Rural Jobs Accelerator: We are launching a national competition, providing about $15 million for projects that promote innovation-fueled regional job creation.  The competition will combine funding from USDA, the Economic Development Administration, Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. USDA will utilize our Rural Community Development Initiative program to support this effort and provide technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.  
    • Rural Health IT Workforce:  The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to connect community colleges and technical colleges that support rural communities with the materials and resources they need to support the training of Health Information Technology (HIT) professionals that work in rural hospitals and clinics.  

    Click here to learn more about the efforts of the White House Rural Council.

  • Kicking Off the Community College to Career Bus Tour

    Tomorrow, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will embark on a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight innovative industry initiativesthat are helping train students with the skills they need to meet area workforce needs. 

    President Obama recently announced an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education,which will help forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs.

    During the tour, Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis will visit several community colleges to learn about model industry partnerships, but we know there are many more success stories around the country (check out the full schedule below). We want to hear from community college faculty, students, business and community leaders about how these partnerships have benefited you and your community.

    Check out this video from Secretary Solis asking for community college faculty, students and industry partners to share their stories.  Got a story to share? Head over to WhiteHouse.gov/CommunityCollege/Tour to tell us about it or share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #CCtour.

    Here’s the full schedule for the bus tour.

  • Enforcing Trade Agreements Protects Jobs

    Last Friday, President Obama traveled to the Boeing aerospace factory in Everett, Washington. He met with workers and discussed his blueprint for an economy built to last with the renewed strength of American manufacturing. Part of the President’s message will focus on the Administration’s commitment to strong enforcement of U.S. trade agreements. The enforcement of trade agreements is vital to the success of large U.S. exporters like Boeing, as well as hundreds of firms of every size throughout Boeing’s global supply chain. 

    Here in the United States, from Washington to Kansas to South Carolina, tens of thousands of Americans depend on Boeing and its suppliers for a job and a place to put their skills to work. Trade agreements that guarantee a level playing field for global competition help make it possible for Boeing to sell its airplanes around the world in support of jobs here at home.   

    Boeing, like other American companies, knows from experience the importance of strong trade enforcement. For many years, the EU and its various member states provided Airbus, Boeing’s main global competitor, with more than $18 billion in subsidies. As a result, Boeing has been competing on an un-level playing field – losing market share and possible job-creating opportunities.  

    Fortunately, last year the Obama Administration secured a victory against EU subsidies to Airbus. It was the largest verdict in the history of the World Trade Organization.  USTR is currently working to ensure that the EU implements the necessary changes and stops the illegal subsidies. Once implemented, this decision will lead to a more level playing field for Boeing and its many suppliers across America who support well-paying jobs for tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. 

  • Introducing BusinessUSA

    Today, as part of the Administration’s ongoing effort to support and strengthen American businesses, we officially launched BusinessUSA – a new online platform that will make it easier for businesses to access the services and information they need to help them grow, hire and export.

    BusinessUSA is specifically designed to help meet the President’s goal of streamlining business-related agencies to better meet the needs of America’s businesses in the 21st Century global economy.  For too long, entrepreneurs – and especially small business owners – have been forced to navigate a confusing maze of government agencies to get the support and resources they need. The President has made clear that this is unacceptable.  As he said in his State of the Union Address, we need to give U.S. businesses every opportunity and tool to succeed so that they can grow and hire right here in America – and that’s what today’s launch is all about.

    BusinessUSA isn’t just another website. It’s a virtual one stop shop that gives businesses access to the full range of resources they need at every stage of their development – providing assistance getting patents, loans to grow and hire, information on contracting opportunities, and help breaking into new markets overseas. The sitetakes a “No Wrong Door” approach that creates a common platform to match businesses with the services relevant to them, regardless of where the information is located or which agency’s website, call center, or office they go to for help. With a simple click of a mouse, BusinessUSA’s search function puts a wealth of valuable and relevant information at users’ fingertips.

  • Chart of the Day: Another Milestone in the Resurgence of the American Auto Industry

    Today, we learned that each of the Big Three automakers posted a yearly profit for 2011. For the first time since 2004, all of those companies are operating in the black. 

    But those aren’t the only milestones we’ve seen recently in the resurgence of the American auto industry. Or in the comeback of the American manufacturing sector. 

    The January 2012 jobs report released earlier this month included another little-noticed milestone. The number of auto industry jobs added since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy after June 2009 now exceeds 200,000 — marking the strongest period of auto jobs growth since the late 1990s. That positive trend is particularly strong in the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing sector, which has added 121,900 jobs – a nearly 20 percent increase – since June 2009. And that growth is particularly notable given that some experts estimated that at least 1 million jobs could have been lost if GM and Chrysler had been liquidated.

    Automotive Industry
    (Motor Vehicles and Parts)
    June 2009 January 2012 Total Jobs Added
    Auto Industry Manufacturing 624,400 746,300 121,900
    Auto Industry Retail 1,627,700 1,713,400 85,700
    Total 2,252,100 2,459,700 207,600
     

  • Expanding the Healthcare Tax Credit for Small Businesses

    Ed. Note: This was originally posted on Open for Business, the U.S. Small Business Administration blog.  

    Right now, small businesses across America pay an average of 18 percent more to provide health insurance than large businesses.  While the insurance exchanges included in the Affordable Care Act will bring these costs down starting in 2014, we need to make it easier for small business owners to provide insurance to their employees right now. One important part of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal expands a tax credit that does exactly that.

    The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit has benefited hundreds of thousands of small businesses since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.  After listening to business owners around the country, the President is proposing to make the tax credit available to more businesses and easier to claim. The budget increases the maximum size of eligible companies from 25 employees to 50, proposes more generous phase-out provisions and simplifies the credit, making it easier to claim. It is estimated that if the President’s proposal were enacted, the tax credit will benefit about half a million employers who provide healthcare to 4 million workers in 2012 alone. Over the next decade, this proposal would provide an additional $14 billion in tax credits to small employers across the country.

    These changes will help small business owners hire more employees and create an economy built to last. Take for example, Mark Hodesh, who owns Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  He started offering healthcare about 15 years ago to attract and retain talented employees so that he could compete with bigger stores and to help address skyrocketing healthcare costs his employees were facing. 

    In 2010, after qualifying for the small business healthcare tax credit, he got back nearly $9,000, almost 30 percent of his costs, for offering coverage to 11 full-time employees. The money he saved helped him hire a new employee, and now, with 12 employees, his tax credit could be go up to about $10,000 if the President’s proposal to expand the tax credit is adopted by Congress.