- Posted byon April 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM EDT
President Obama and the First Lady are committed to doing everything in their power to assist the brave men and women who have served our country in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. Over the last year and a half, the President has overseen the first re-design of the military’s transition assistance program in twenty years; created new tax credits to spur veteran hiring; expanded re-employment services, including the Veterans Job Bank and the Veterans Gold Card; and launched a series of initiatives to expand the number of veterans that get jobs in healthcare and first responder fields. Additionally, under the great leadership of the First Lady and Dr. Biden, Joining Forces has expanded hiring and training partnerships with the private sector in an effort to help our veterans and their spouses get back to work.
Yet, our veterans still face major hurdles as they transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce. According to a 2012 survey by Prudential and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 60 percent of survey respondents said they had trouble translating their military skills into civilian job experience, creating a significant barrier to employment. Many high-demand, good-paying jobs like paramedics, truck drivers, nurses, and welders, require either a national certification or state occupational license to be hired, and currently our national and state systems make it very difficult for service members and veterans to obtain these civilian certifications and licenses that directly translate to their military training. Often times service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive these occupational credentials, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential training requirements. And employers, many with significant needs for skilled workers, are left waiting for these military members to complete these, oftentimes lengthy, credentialing training programs – programs that many veterans could have taught themselves.
- Posted byon February 1, 2013 at 6:26 PM EDT
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Technology Inclusion Summit, hosted by Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Level Playing Field Institute. It was an amazing gathering of private and public partners who are united in their efforts to expand opportunities for training, education and jobs in technology.
President Obama has always believed that technology is an essential part of growing our economy, creating jobs and remaining globally competitive. The President continues to be committed to encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in our country, starting with setting a goal of 1 million Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) graduates over the next decade. This effort also means that we need to collectively act to knock down any barriers that stand in the way.
Last August, during the Tech Inclusion Roundtable, participants came up with some great private-sector initiatives to help drive innovation across every community. Whether it was pioneering new educational tools for students of all ages, bringing technical training to underrepresented communities, or mobilizing tech company CEOs to establish mentoring programs for young people, every one of these initiatives and ideas has the potential to shape America’s future.
- Posted byon December 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM EDT
In August of 2011, President Obama challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. In August of this year, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Mayport Naval Station in Florida to announce that 2,000 American companies had stepped up to the challenge, and had already exceeded that goal, hiring 125,000 veterans and military spouses more than a year ahead of schedule.
In addition, those companies doubled down on their commitment to our troops and military families and made a new promise, a pledge to hire or train an additional 250,000 of our nation's heroes, including 50,000 military spouses.
- Posted byon December 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM EDT
As the debate over the so-called "fiscal cliff" in Washington continues, much of the conversation centers on deficit reduction, revenues, and tax rates. But what is easily lost in that conversation is the very real meaning this has for families all across America. The fact is Hispanic-American families just can't afford tax increases right now, but that's what will happen if Congress fails to act. In fact the median Hispanic family of four would see their income taxes rise by $2,200. An astounding 99 percent of Hispanic families will be affected.
President Obama is committed to growing our economy from the middle out by ensuring a strong, secure, and thriving middle-class, and is proposing a balanced approach. There is no reason to hold middle-class families hostage while we debate tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Below you'll find a link to a fact sheet that shows how Hispanic families will be affected. We're also asking all of you to tell us what $2,000 means to your family's budget. Take a look at our #My2K page, and tell us on twitter what that money means to you.
And download the fact sheet on the Fiscal Cliff and Hispanic-American families here.
- Posted byon November 29, 2012 at 3:20 PM EDT
Yesterday marked the launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States. This new resource was announced during a visit to MIT’s entrepreneurship center by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Federal agency responsible for administering visa programs.
Immigrant entrepreneurs have always made extraordinary contributions to our Nation’s economic growth and competitiveness, creating jobs and new businesses all across the country. Immigrants started 25 percent of the highest-growth companies in America, including iconic success stories like Intel, Google, Yahoo, and eBay, which together employ an estimated 220,000 people within the United States.
President Obama is committed to attracting the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to start the next great companies here in the United States, and Entrepreneur Pathways is an important and concrete next step to facilitating that. For example, imagine that an entrepreneur from another country participates in a startup mentorship program in the United States, raises a first round of funding from investors, and wants to stay here to grow the company and hire more people. Entrepreneur Pathways explains, in plain English, which existing visa categories might be available to that entrepreneur under current law, and what evidence would be necessary to demonstrate eligibility.
- Posted byon November 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM EDT
While much focus has been devoted to education and training for our younger Veterans, we have not lost sight that we have another group who has served our Nation with distinction. Many of this group may already have some education and training, they need additional assistance to prepare them for a changing career market.
In November 2011, the President signed into law the Vow to Hire Heroes Act. This Act does many things to prepare Veterans for careers after military service, including one provision that specifically targets older veterans. The Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, better known as VRAP, is designed to give up to 12 months of benefits for unemployed Veterans to jump-start into a new, high-demand career field. This provision specifically applies to unemployed Veterans who are between 35 and 60, and not eligible for any other education benefit. The law limits the benefit to 99,000 Veterans. Since May, 2012, over 75,000 Veterans have applied and over 62,000 have already been approved to participate in the program.
VRAP doesn’t end with the provision of education; it goes one step further by assisting Veterans find a career. When a Veteran completes the education or training program, they are then eligible to leverage the Department of Labor programs designed for Veterans.
- Posted byon November 10, 2012 at 6:45 AM EDT
President Obama says that it’s time for Congress to pass the middle class tax cuts for 98 percent of all Americans. Both parties agree that this will give 98 percent of families and 97 percent of small businesses the certainty that will lead to growth, and so there is no reason to wait. On Tuesday, the American people voted for compromise and action, and the President calls on Congress to come together in that spirit to help create jobs and strengthen our economy.
- Posted byon September 26, 2012 at 2:30 PM EDT
Yesterday, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor announced the Make it in America Challenge – a $40 million multi-agency competition that will help accelerate business investments in the U.S. This includes insourcing, where U.S.-based companies bring jobs back, or foreign investment, when foreign companies build factories here and hire American workers to run them.
The competition is being funded by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. It builds upon the administration’s efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs by partnering with state, regional, and local partners.
Beginning next year, three-year grants will be available to states, cities, nonprofits, colleges and economic development districts that develop plans to help attract companies that want to build in the U.S. but might need a few more resources.
- Posted byon September 19, 2012 at 1:54 PM EDT
The Obama Administration's number one priority is to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and restore economic security for the middle class. One way to help strengthen the economy is to make the U.S. the top destination for international visitors. Since the President issued an Executive Order in January and the National Travel and Tourism Strategy was subsequently released by this Administration in May, the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State have put a priority on expanding travel to and within the U.S., while remaining vigilant in protecting our national security.
Today, we learned that these efforts are working. The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that international visitors spent an estimated $13.7 billion on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States during the month of July--$350 million (3 percent) more than was spent in July 2011. Travel and tourism-related exports have increased, on average, more than $1.1 billion a month during the first seven months of 2012.
Also today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released estimates for the second quarter 2012 from their Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts. These accounts present a detailed picture of travel and tourism activity and its role in the U.S. economy, including estimates of spending by travelers in six categories of goods and service as well as estimates of the employment generated by travel and tourism and related industries. Today's data reveal that real spending on travel and tourism increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2012 after increasing 4.9 percent (revised) in the first quarter of 2012, supporting 7.6 million jobs.
Recent visitors can access the newly redesigned recreation.gov, the federal government's one-stop shop for trip planning and reservations on public lands, such as national parks, wildlife refuges, waterways, forests and recreation areas. This year alone, more than 6 million people have visited the site to learn more about exploring America's great outdoors. A key feature of the new site is suggested travel itineraries to several top destinations for international visitors - Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. These pre-planned circuits encourage travelers to expand their itineraries by one or more days to take in lesser-known destinations. Longer visits and more expansive itineraries will translate to more tourism dollars and more jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry throughout the U.S.
- Posted byon September 7, 2012 at 9:30 AM EDT
While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has also proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year.
Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 103,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 96,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 30 straight months, for a total of 4.6 million jobs during that period.
The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August.
Employment rose notably in leisure and hospitality (+34,000), professional and business services (+28,000), health care and social assistance (+21,700), and wholesale trade (+7,900). Manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, including a 7,500 drop in motor vehicles and parts, which is partly payback for there having been relatively few seasonal auto plant shutdowns in July. Over the past 30 months, manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs. Government lost 7,000 jobs, as state government payrolls fell by 6,000 and local governments shed 4,000 jobs. Since February 2010, State and local governments have lost 504,000 jobs.
White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Forum Talks Transportation InfrastructurePosted byon August 27, 2012 at 9:54 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from The Fast Lane -- the blog of the Department of Transportation.
Yesterday, I joined several of my DOT colleagues for a White House Business Council forum on American Economic Competitiveness focused on transportation infrastructure. It was great to sit down with businessmen and women from across the country; listen to their concerns and ideas; and discuss the Administration's initiatives on economic development, freight and passenger movement, and infrastructure financing.
It was exciting to meet with business leaders who understand that our transportation policies affect their bottom lines, and we heard over and over yesterday that transportation is an important priority for local chambers of commerce and their members.
Without freight corridors --whether air, sea, river, road, or rail-- businesses can't get access to raw materials or move their products to market. Without adequate transportation, employees can't get to their jobs and can't travel to meet distant vendors and customers to help grow their enterprises.
- Posted byon August 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from commerce.gov.
Travel and tourism spending by international visitors is helping to boost the U.S. economy. The U.S. Department of Commerce released data yesterday showing that international visitors have spent an estimated $82.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services year to date, an increase of 11 percent when compared to the same period last year. Many people do not know that this boosts exports – when foreign citizens travel to America and buy goods and services from American companies, that counts as a U.S. export. The new data indicate that the first half of 2012 set a new record for U.S. travel and tourism exports, and, if these trends continue, international visitors could end up injecting close to $170 billion into the U.S. economy by year-end.
These increases help explain why the Obama administration is working hard to make the United States the top destination for international travelers. The U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior are implementing the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which they presented to the President in May. The National Strategy is a blueprint for expanding travel to and within the U.S., setting out the goal of attracting over 100 million international visitors annually by 2021, more than a 50 percent increase over the number expected this year. These international visitors would spend an estimated $250 billion per year, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in communities across the country.
- Posted byon August 22, 2012 at 4:55 PM EDT
Earlier today, I joined with First Lady Michelle Obama at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Florida as she announced that 2,000 companies had hired or trained an amazing 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year through Joining Forces.
This effort, combined with policies and legislation put in place by the President have resulted in a 20 percent decrease in veteran unemployment compared to this time last year.
It was an extraordinary event, set among several Navy Seahawk helicopters, that kicked off with a new Joining Forces video telling the story of how we got to today's announcement. Hundreds of Sailors from on Navy's premier warships and helicopter squadrons were in attendance along with their families.
The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk, was there and delivered inspiring remarks.
Leaders of businesses who have been hiring literally thousands of veterans were there -- and they brought with them veterans and spouses who they hired in the past year.
As several of the veterans told me, Joining Forces has made a significant impact on their lives.
- Posted byon August 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM EDT
Earlier this week I joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for a dialogue with leaders within the travel and tourism industry at the White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Forum. We held a very useful discussion about how the Administration can continue to help support travel and tourism and the millions of jobs associated with the industry.
Travel and tourism has been a particularly bright spot in our economic growth over the past two years. I recently announced that 2012 will likely be another record year for international travel to the U.S. In fact, in May 2012 international travel to the U.S. reached nearly $14 billion – up 8% from May 2011. That caps 29 straight months of growth. Many people do not realize that international travel to the U.S. counts as an export, since foreign citizens purchase U.S. goods and services when they travel here. Hence, the travel and tourism industry has been a critical factor in the increase of export-supported jobs, which have grown by 1.2 million from 2009-2011.
We can build on this momentum by strengthening public-private partnerships with the industry, which is the core of the new National Travel and Tourism Strategy. Already, we’ve reinvigorated the Tourism Policy Council – a Commerce-led team involving a dozen agencies that touch on travel and tourism. Also, the Trade and Tourism Advisory Board – involving many of the people at this Forum – has never been more active. In fact, they contributed many great ideas as we wrote the Strategy.
- Posted byon August 3, 2012 at 9:32 AM EDT
While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year. In addition, to create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders.
Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 172,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 163,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 29 straight months, for a total of 4.5 million jobs during that period.
The household survey showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217% in June to 8.254% in July). Acting BLS Commissioner John Galvin noted in his statement that the unemployment rate was “essentially unchanged” from June to July.
- Posted byon August 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This article was originally published on the U.S. Department of Transportation Blog
It was my distinct pleasure to welcome the 2012 Transportation Champions of Change recognized yesterday by the White House. The 14 individuals selected for this honor comprise an amazing roster of transportation excellence and leadership.
We've accomplished a lot at DOT in the past few years, but we did not do it alone. In communities across the country, we have found bold, innovative leaders who have taken up the important cause of changing the way we think about transportation and have created jobs in the process.
These Champions are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country. And, thanks to them, it is a new day for transportation in America.
Transportation today is not simply about building new roads or widening bridges. It's about looking at how people want to get where they need to go and how they are affected in different ways by the decisions we make.
- Posted byon July 27, 2012 at 9:38 AM EDT
Today’s report shows that the economy posted its twelfth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter of this year, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Over the last three years, the economy has expanded by 6.7 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 9.9 percent. While the economy continues to move in the right direction, additional growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the deep recession that began at the end of 2007
With today’s report, the BEA also released its annual revisions back to 2009. While the revisions did not meaningfully change the pace of growth over that entire period, it is noteworthy that State and local government purchases were revised up in 2009, which is consistent with the Recovery Act cushioning the effect of the recession and helping to launch the recovery. Since the Recovery Act funds have been phasing out, however, declining State and local government activity has subtracted from GDP. Indeed, today’s report indicates that State and local government purchases have declined for 11 straight quarters, the longest streak ever recorded since the official record of quarterly data began in 1947.
To strengthen economic growth and increase job creation, President Obama has proposed to Congress a plan that would help State and local governments retain and hire teachers and first responders, assist the construction sector and economy of tomorrow by rebuilding and modernizing our Nation’s infrastructure, and would give small businesses tax cuts to encourage them to increase payroll. President Obama also proposed extending tax cuts to protect middle class families and virtually every small business owner from getting a tax increase at the beginning of next year. The Senate passed the President’s plan this week and President Obama has said that as soon as the House will act he will sign it right away in order to give certainty and security to middle class families. Extending these tax cuts would provide more certainty for the economy for 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small business owners.
- Posted byon July 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM EDT
The Bay Area has long been a hub of innovation and technology, so it is critical that local employers are actively engaged in developing a skilled workforce for the 21st century. Ensuring that young people learn the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math while in school is crucial to maintaining our culture of innovation, but so is exposing youth to the types of career opportunities available in these and other high-growth fields.
That’s why I was so pleased that the Mayor of San Francisco and many local employers signed on to President Obama’s Summer Jobs+ Initiative. Together, we’re working hard to provide our young people with the skills, experience, and opportunities they need to succeed.
Earlier this week I had a chance to sit down with the Mayor and employers like BRE Properties, Starbucks, and Jawbone who understand that summer jobs offer young people a chance they desperately need, while at the same time helping businesses develop a stronger pipeline to the local workforce.
- Posted byon July 25, 2012 at 9:37 AM EDT
In August 2011, President Obama visited the Washington Navy Yard to discuss his plans to ensure that all of America’s veterans have the support they need and deserve when they leave the military, look for a job, go to school, and enter the civilian workforce. Our service members receive training of the highest quality to ensure they have the skills necessary to protect our country, yet service members who are preparing to leave the military lack access to expansive, personalized training and counseling necessary for success in the civilian sector. That is why, as part of his August address, the President directed the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to lead a task force to develop a career-ready military and design a “reverse boot camp” for separating service members.
On July 23, 2012, President Obama addressed the VFW in Reno, Nevada and announced the first major re-design of the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) since the program’s inception over 20 years ago. Previously, TAP was a voluntary, one-size fits all program. Many service members complained of that the workshops were “death by PowerPoint” and did not provide the interactive education and training required to be prepared to join civilian life. Under the President’s new transition program, Transition GPS, our military will no longer feel as if they are in a one-size-fits-all program.
- Posted byon July 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT
Ed note: this post was originally published on The Commerce Blog, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Commerce
I am back in my home state of Missouri today, so it is even more of a treat to witness firsthand the resurgence in American manufacturing. I visited two manufacturers today – the A. ZAHNER Company, in Kansas City, and Environmental Dynamics International (EDI), in Columbia – and had the chance to talk to some remarkable local businesses leaders and entrepreneurs in both cities.
Under President Obama’s leadership, and with the hard work of businesses and workers like those here in Missouri, our private sector has now seen 28 straight months of job growth – 4.4 million jobs. Of course, there is more work to be done, but we are making progress in critical areas. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve seen the strongest growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s. Missouri alone has gained nearly 9,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010.
On top of that, manufacturers in states like Missouri are realizing that investing here at home is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Many businesses – both here and abroad – are deciding to keep jobs here, bring jobs back to the U.S., or to set up operations here for the first time—a trend called “insourcing.”
We need to do everything possible to support businesses in places like Missouri that are thinking about insourcing. The Obama Administration will continue to call on Congress to pass legislation to give our companies a tax break if they move operations and jobs back.