- Posted byon March 22, 2012 at 8:32 AM EDT
This afternoon President Obama is visiting Ohio State University to highlight some of the nation’s most advanced energy-related research and development projects. Technological innovation is a key element in the Administration’s “all-of-the-above” strategy to reduce energy costs for consumers while protecting health and the environment—a strategy that focuses on developing cleaner and more efficient energy sources and also on novel ways to help consumers conserve energy and save money right now. That’s why we are pleased to co-host a White House event today at which utility company CEOs from across the country are committing to participate in the “Green Button” initiative.
Green Button is an industry-led effort that responds to a White House call-to-action to provide consumers with easy-to-understand data about their household energy use. At today’s event, nine major utilities and electricity suppliers will sign on to the initiative, committing to provide more than 15 million households secure access to their energy data with a simple click of an online Green Button. That builds on similar commitments made by utilities in January to provide Green Button capability to nearly 12 million households this year. With that information in hand, consumers can take advantage of a growing array of online services that can help them manage energy use and save on their bills.
Making America a Top Tourist Destination: Commerce and Interior Keep Up Efforts to Increase VisitationPosted byon March 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM EDT
Ed note: This was originally published on thecommerceblog, the offical blog of the Department of Commerce
This month, more than a million visitors from across the country and around the world are coming to our nation’s capital to see the cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring among some of America’s most treasured historical landmarks. From the purchase of airline tickets to dining in area restaurants to staying in hotels, these visitors are infusing millions of dollars into the community and supporting local businesses.
As we search for ways to grow our nation’s economy, we must not overlook the travel and tourism industry as a source for economic opportunity. According to data released by the Commerce Department earlier today, tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011 and supported an additional 103,000 jobs, for a total of 7.6 million jobs.
A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 2.5 million more international visitors came to the United States compared with the previous year. These international visitors spent an all-time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.
As this data reveals, the travel and tourism industry is one of the most important engines of our economy—in fact, it is our number-one service export. That is why President Obama recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, which charged us with leading efforts to develop recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote travel throughout the United States.
We know that making it even easier to visit America’s most amazing places and working hard to tell folks about what an amazing place America is – whether you travel five or 5,000 miles to get here–will help grow our businesses and create jobs.
America is the land of extraordinary natural wonders and incredible landmarks–from the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building. We have it all right here and have a lot to offer our nation’s visitors.
With over 397 national park units, 556 national wildlife refuges, and 886 units of the national landscape conservation system, a particular focus on strategies for increasing tourism and jobs is by promoting visits to our national treasures. From hunting, fishing, hiking, and learning about our nation’s incredible history and cultural heritage, public lands and water provide plenty of recreational opportunities that can attract travelers from around the country and the globe.
- Posted byon March 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM EDT
Last week I was in Atlanta, on the campus of Georgia Tech for a “Day of Engineering” Facebook pep rally to kick off the President’s new Stay With It campaign devoted to recruiting, retaining and graduating 10,000 engineers each year to maintain America’s competitive edge. Corporate leaders, educators and students have gathered for dialog and panel discussions on the dire need to increase the number of American engineers. Fourteen universities from across the nation are participating via Facebook viewing parties. Spearheaded by Intel President & CEO, Paul Otellini, who is also a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Stay With It campaign will provide mentors and other supports to increase the number of American engineering graduates which has fallen woefully behind other surging economies and has led to a shortage of skilled workers for American jobs.
More than 65 companies have already committed to doubling their 2012 summer engineering internships, including Intel, GE and DuPont – making an overall $70 million investment in giving students valuable hands-on experience. In addition, engineering deans from some of the nation’s top universities – including Georgia Tech – have developed a gold seal standard of excellence for colleges and universities focused on improved retention and graduation rates.
The participation of NASA and Intel is particularly important because aerospace and computer technology are clearly the growth industries of the future; but the only way to ensure that growth is by maintaining a constant pipeline of qualified workers. The centerpiece of our efforts to close the skills gap is the engagement of more students in the study of science, technology, engineering and math or the STEM disciplines.
NASA is now embarking on ambitious agenda of deep space exploration that will carry our astronauts to places where we have never been, including an asteroid and eventually Mars. We need engineers to help us design the new rockets and capsules that will carry us there. We need scientists and researchers to help us develop materials to withstand the stresses of deep space exploration, to sustain humans for long-duration stays in space, to make air transportation quicker, safer and more efficient and to aid us in our quest to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos and improve life here on Earth.
- Posted byon March 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM EDT
Earlier this month, I joined with a company called Orion International and 12 private sector companies in Ft Hood, Texas, one of America’s largest military bases, for one reason: to hire American Soldiers transitioning out of the world’s greatest Army.
These companies included: Allied Wire, HESS, Kansas City Southern Railway, Schlumberger, NOV, US Bank, USES, Dollar General, Honeywell, Siemens, Marathon and McCormick.
The event was full of excitement, education – and “win-win” opportunities for both the companies involved, as well as transitioning soldiers, some of whom were just weeks away from leaving the Army after having served our nation during a time of war.
With America hiring once again, events such as these are being seen more and more around the country – and for good reason: employers recognize the value of hiring veterans.
As Dave Ebbrecht, Executive Vice President for Kansas City Southern Railway, put it: “It was an absolutely great event with very good candidates, in every rank … capable of filling a variety of different positions for our company, and we ended up hiring 22 veterans from this event.”
That’s 22 Soldiers hired by one company… in one day… and 35 Soldiers have already been offered jobs. More than 100 soldiers are in some phase of an interview process.
- Posted byon March 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM EDT
Ed note: Dr. Jill Biden wrote this op-ed for USA Today.
Danny Anderson is an American hero. He is also a role model — in more ways than one.
Danny spent six years in the Army. He loved serving his country, and when he completed his time in the military, he was eager to find other ways to serve. So Danny decided to use his military benefits to earn his degree and enrolled in Hopkinsville Community College's nursing program. Through a partnership between Gateway Medical Center and Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky, Danny became a registered nurse and is now employed in Gateway's emergency care department.
I met Danny last month when I traveled with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on a five-state "Community College to Career" bus tour to highlight the types of successful community college industry partnerships that are working and can serve as models for the nation.
The impact Danny's community college education had on his life is clear — and is one I see replicated on community college campuses across the country, as well as in my own 18 years as a community college professor.
- Posted byon March 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM EDT
When you think of great American innovators, you think of names like Edison, Ford, Bell and Jobs. But the world’s next great technological breakthrough might be coming to life at this very moment in the basement of an unknown visionary somewhere in America. According to a recent article in the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, that is exactly how Cornerstone Research Group (CRG) got started in 1997. With the help of NASA and a unique Federal initiative – the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) -- CRG, which specializes in advanced materials, system engineering and manufacturing technologies, has grown from one man’s basement dream to a company with more than 60 employees, three spin-off subsidiaries and annual revenues of more than $10 million.
As President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation says: “We can create the jobs and industries of the future by doing what America does best – investing in the creativity and imagination of our people.” That is exactly what SBIR does. Established in 1982 and administered by the Small Business Administration, SBIR’s mission is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy. Each year, NASA and the 10 other Federal agencies with extramural research and development (R & D) budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate 2.5% of their R&D budgets to small businesses. Since its inception, the SBIR program has awarded more than $26.9 billion. And according to the Dayton Daily News, from 2007 to 2010, nearly $93 million in federal SBIR funds went to 55 Dayton-area companies, including CRG.
- Posted byon March 15, 2012 at 10:37 AM EDT
As of March 15, 2012, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement – the most commercially significant U.S. trade agreement in nearly two decades -- is now in effect. The opportunities this agreement offers to American manufacturers, service providers, farmers, ranchers, and workers are key components of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double American exports by the end of 2014 and support additional American jobs.
President Obama insisted that we get this agreement right, working with Congress, stakeholders, and our Korean government counterparts to address outstanding issues and then seal the deal. Now, greater export opportunities will make American businesses of all sizes more competitive in the global economy, and allow them to support more jobs for Americans in sectors ranging from automobile manufacturing to delivery services to agriculture of all kinds. Tariff cuts will increase exports of American goods alone by $10-11 billion, supporting an estimated 70,000 jobs across the country. Export opportunities will also grow as the agreement opens Korea’s $580 billion services market, streamlines customs procedures, reduces red tape, and better protects American intellectual property rights.
- Posted byon March 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM EDT
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama talked about the importance of doing more to help American workers acquire the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. Today, the Administration is outlining more details of the President's proposal to reform our nation's re-employment system and help up to one million displaced workers each year.
President Obama wants to create a Universal Displaced Worker Program to provide individuals with high-quality job-search assistance and access to critical skills training for high-growth industries. For older workers, the new system would include the option for wage insurance -- which would provide some compensation if they are forced to accept a position with a lower salary.
The President’s proposal also calls for the creation of an American Job Center network. Right now, there are nearly 3,000 employment centers that receive federal funds. Their names vary from state to state or community to community and the tools that exist online are spread across a range of disconnected websites.
President Obama wants to invest $50 million to improve and expand these workforce centers so that both workers and businesses have one, easy to identify source for help and services.
The first piece of this effort will be a new online American Job Center which will launch at JobCenter.USA.gov in the months ahead. When the site rolls out in full, it will provide a single point of access to a full slate of key information for companies and individuals. But in the meantime, we've already begun the process of aggregating some of the best resources – like Opportunity.gov, which helps individuals find new educational opportunities to advance their careers, or MySkillsMyFuture.org, which helps people match their experience with other occupations -- at the site. Go check them out.
To learn more about the President plan, click here.
- Posted byon March 9, 2012 at 7:42 PM EDT
On a day when we received another strong jobs report -- private employers added 233,000 jobs in February, marking the 24th straight month of job growth -- President Obama headed to Petersburg, Virginia to talk about additional steps we can take to continue boosting the economy.
Manufacturing is one of the sectors helping to lead the recovery, and today American factories are adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. That's a valuable trend, and President Obama is doing everything in his power to support it.
Through an initiative called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the President has convened some of the leading minds in science, education, and industry with a goal of ensuring that products that change the world are invented and assembled right here in the United States. In Petersburg, he discussed his plans to build on their work:
I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation–-and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes.
The President is investing $45 million in a pilot program aimed at promoting collaboration between government and industry in order to encourage innovation in manufacturing:
With that pilot in place, we’ll keep on pushing Congress to do the right thing because this is the kind of approach that can succeed, but we’ve got to have this all across the country. I want everybody thinking about how are we making the best products; how are we harnessing the new ideas and making sure they’re located here in the United States.
To learn more, read the President's full remarks.
- Posted byon March 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM EDT
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007, including measures to help the sectors that were most severely harmed by the bubble economy that misdirected investment and created too few durable jobs.
After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the recession, the economy has added 429,000 manufacturing jobs in the past two years. For the first time since the 1990s, the manufacturing sector is adding jobs. To support a revival in manufacturing jobs and output, the President has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the workforce, and measures to create manufacturing hubs.
Private sector payrolls increased by 233,000 jobs and overall payroll employment rose by 227,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3%. The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percentage point over the last 6 months.
There was an increase in the size of the labor force last month of 476,000. Importantly, the increase in the labor force last month was due in large part to a reduction in the number of workers who exited the labor force between January and February.
Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 24 straight months, for a total of more than 3.9 million payroll jobs over that period. In the last 12 months, 2.2 million private sector jobs were added on net. In the last 6 months, 1.3 million private sector jobs were added, the most of any 6 month period in nearly 6 years.
Sectors with net job increases included health care and social assistance (+61,100), temporary help services (+45,200), leisure and hospitality (+44,000), and manufacturing (+31,000). Construction lost 13,000 jobs, reflecting a loss of 15,400 specialty trade contractor jobs. Employment in the Federal government fell by 7,000 jobs.
The monthly employment and unemployment numbers can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.
- Posted byon March 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM EDT
This afternoon, the White House honored eleven Champions of Change for their extraordinary service as mentors for startups and small businesses across the country. By sharing their expertise and hard-won experience with first-time entrepreneurs, these mentors are not only “paying it forward” – they are enabling countless American businesses to grow faster and create more jobs.
Some of these Champions have done exemplary work through programs affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), including SCORE, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and the Emerging Leaders (e200) Initiative. Others are working to grow regional “entrepreneurial ecosystems” through the Startup America Partnership, a private-sector response to the White House Startup America initiative.
A strong mentor can offer invaluable support to entrepreneurs. Check out this new video on what makes an effective entrepreneurial mentor, drawn from interviews with leaders from the Startup America Partnership, who share their own experience on both sides of the relationship.
- Posted byon March 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon March 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM EDT
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.
- Posted byon March 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon March 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM EDT
There is no doubt that our nation’s public lands – national parks, refuges, waterways and open spaces – are economic engines that produce and support jobs across the country.
On Tuesday, a report issued by the National Park Service showed that visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
These are incredible numbers – and just a slice of the pie when it comes to the economic contributions of our public lands. For example, recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands led to nearly $55 billion and 440,000 jobs in 2009.
That’s part of the reason that President Obama called on his administration to take actions to promote travel and tourism in the United States. Investing in our parks and public lands and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, is one way we can make the United States - with all its natural, historic and cultural assets - the top tourist destination in the world. International travel to the U.S. already supports 1.2 million jobs alone, so our efforts will help bolster job creation.
This is one of the topics we’re discussing today at the White House Conference on Conservation where President Obama and senior members of his Cabinet are meeting with conservation leaders from across the country to strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in advancing community-driven conservation, preservation and outdoor recreation initiatives that are building strong local economies and healthy lands, waters and wildlife.
The White House conference – Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy – is bringing together hundreds of boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders and other key stakeholders from around the nation.
Joining Forces Commitment Met: Chamber of Commerce Holds 100 Hiring Fairs for Veterans and Military SpousesPosted byon March 2, 2012 at 3:26 PM EDT
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 100th hiring fair at the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania March 2, 2012. (by Ian Wagreich/U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
- Posted byon March 2, 2012 at 1:34 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon February 28, 2012 at 4:34 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon February 27, 2012 at 4:49 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon February 27, 2012 at 2:35 PM EDT
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.
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