- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 7:58 PM EDT
Ed note: This was originally posted on the VA's blog, VAntage
This week, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki met with National Franchise business leaders in Atlanta to promote Veteran employment. The effort was the part of the Obama Administration’s Joining Forces Initiative, which aims for a simple yet important goal: To connect our Veterans and their families with meaningful employment.
Secretary Shinseki talked about a win for everyone involved; a win for employers that receive great, disciplined, and hardworking employees and Veterans, who have the ability to achieve their goals out of uniform.
It’s all part of a plan to support Veterans, as the President said in the State of the Union, “so that America is as strong as those who defend her.”
The International Franchise Association has pledged to hire and recruit 75,000 Veterans and their spouses by 2014. With the example they set, I hope it’s a trend that continues across America.
Secretary Shinseki has made a strong case for Veterans in the workplace. “They make exceptional employees and business leaders,” he told the collection of business leaders in Atlanta. “Let’s hire them. Let’s find them work.”
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 7:08 PM EDT
A quick look at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
State of the Union: In his third State of the Union Address on Tuesday, the President outlined his vision for “an America that lasts”—one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources—and presented a blueprint to achieve that vision. Check out this video that goes behind the scenes as President Obama prepared the speech.
Blueprint for Manufacturing: During his visit to New Hampshire following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Vice President Biden highlighted the Administration’s plan to help businesses bring jobs back to America through manufacturing. He echoed the President’s message that we need to commit to train workers with the skills they will need to compete in the growing sectors of our economy.
Talking Energy in Las Vegas: From a UPS facility in Las Vegas, the President spoke about the future of American-made energy. “[Even] with all this oil production, we only have about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves,” the President said, “So we've got to have an all-out, all-in, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every source of American energy—a strategy that is cleaner and cheaper and full of new jobs.”
#WHchat: Throughout the week, more than thirty administration officials have answered questions about President Obama’s State of the Union Address and issues Americans care about through a series of Office Hours on Twitter—addressing queries about everything from the economy to disability policy. Vice President Biden—known in the twitterverse as @VP—answered questions submitted by people across the country in his first-ever Twitter interview from an advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire.
NHL Champs: On Monday, the President welcomed the Boston Bruins to the White House and congratulated them on their Stanley Cup victory in June—marking the team’s sixth Cup championship, and their first one in nearly forty years. Their triumph, the President said, “proved that teamwork is everything.” After their visit to the White House, the players led a hockey clinic—affirming that being a champion doesn’t end when you hang up your skates.
- Posted byon January 27, 2012 at 3:32 PM EDT
Yesterday, Vice President Biden visited Rochester, New Hampshire to highlight the Administration’s plan to help businesses bring manufacturing jobs back to America. He made one central message clear: “America is coming back.”
As the Vice President emphasized, the policies the Obama Administration has put in place in its first three years are beginning to pay off—especially in manufacturing. The economy added 334,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two years, making it the strongest period of manufacturing job growth since the late 1990s. And now, instead of hearing about outsourcing, we’re finally starting to hear about insourcing as more and more companies realize that it makes real business sense to bring jobs back to America.
Manufacturers are coming back because, while costs in China are rising rapidly, “American workers are the most productive workers in the world,” the Vice President said. And to reinforce that advantage, we need more partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train workers with the specialized skills employers need.
Vice President Biden had the opportunity to see such a partnership in action in New Hampshire yesterday—a partnership that is reviving advanced manufacturing and bringing jobs back to the state.
- Posted byon January 26, 2012 at 7:26 PM EDT
President Obama toured a UPS facility in Las Vegas today to talk about the future of energy in America.
First, he discussed the progress we've already made:
For decades, Americans have been talking about how do we decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Well, my administration has actually begun to do something about it.
Over the last three years, we negotiated the toughest new efficiency standards for cars and trucks in history. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. Eight years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of last 16 years. That hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but that’s important. We’re moving in the right direction when it comes to oil and gas production.
- Posted byon January 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM EDT
Back in December, thousands of Americans shared their stories about the impact that losing $40 per paycheck would have on them, and on their families, if Congress did not pass the payroll tax cut.
Responses poured in from across the country, and these stories made a difference: Congress passed and President Obama signed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut for middle class families before it expired at the end of 2011.
Amber Morris from Virginia Beach, Virginia was one of the people who wrote in to say what losing $40 per paycheck would mean to her, and on Tuesday night she joined First Lady Michelle Obama for the President’s State of the Union Address. Amber was selected to represent the tens of thousands of Americans who made their voices heard during the debate.
- Posted byon January 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM EDT
This afternoon, Vice President Biden answered questions tweeted by people across the country in his first-ever Twitter interview. From an advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester, New Hampshire, the Vice President answered your questions about taxes, the DREAM act and even his Super Bowl pick.
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 5:50 PM EDT
Since the end of 2009, business investment has grown by a rate of 18 percent, and exports have increased by 32 percent -- for a total of $2 trillion.
That's good news for American manufacturing, which has added 334,000 jobs in the past two years.
Last night, in the State of the Union, President Obama said that his Blueprint for an America that lasts begins with manufacturing. He talked about the revival of the American auto industry and said that what is happening in Detroit can happen in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Raleigh.
To achieve that vision, the President focused on three key themes.
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 5:44 PM EDT
In 2011, American businesses created the most jobs in any year since 2005. In fact, the private sector has added nearly 3.2 million jobs in the last 22 months.
These numbers are proof that we are steadily climbing out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. But we can’t stop now. We must continue to take steps to strengthen and grow our economy.
In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama outlined a Blueprint for an American economy built to last. He laid out a plan to create jobs in the manufacturing and clean energy industries that relies on the skills of American workers. And ee called for a return to American values: hard work, responsibility, and the same rules for everyone, from Wall Street to Main Street.
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 10:46 AM EDT
Americans who watched an online broadcast of President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address saw something a little different: a side by side display of charts, graphs and other visual representations of why the President's policies are so important for our country and our economy. You can see the slides here, or download them at slideshare
- Posted byon January 25, 2012 at 12:19 AM EDT
Tonight, the President outlined a series of ideas to build an economy that works for everyone, one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources.
Taken together, those ideas represent a blueprint for the future.
For decades, economic security for the middle class has been unraveling. Jobs that were once the source of stable livelihoods were shipped overseas. Those at the very top watched their incomes skyrocket, while the majority of Americans were stuck with stagnant salaries and rising costs. And all of this was happening before the worst economic crisis in generations.
What's it going to take to address this crisis?
We need to promote new skills and better education so that all Americans are prepared to compete in a global economy. That's why, tonight, the President said every state should require all students to stay in high school until they earn a diploma or turn 18. That's why the President called for a new partnership between community colleges and businesses to help train and place 2 million skilled workers.
- Posted byon January 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM EDT
Last Wednesday, we joined Dr. Jill Biden at the Code for America headquarters, a non-profit startup that has attracted dozens of civic-minded software developers spending a year building new products and services – powered, in part, by open government data – to improve the lives of everyday Americans.
Dr. Biden celebrated the convening efforts of Code and 10 apps developed by the private sector to improve the employment prospects for our Nation’s heroes – from apps that help veterans build new skills or a professional network, to a personalized list of open job postings. We observed the results of LinkedIn’s “Veterans Hackday” – two of the 44 apps built over a weekend; a collaboration between two tech companies that had never worked together before – Jibe and KMS Software – to deliver an almost-paperless approach to qualify for eligible tax credits; and the impressive work of a veteran entrepreneur, Fidelis, focused on the military to civilian transition.
We saw these and other “Apps for Heroes” because Code for America made a commitment last August in response to the President’s call to action. We joined Code on this mission and engaged a broader voluntary collaborative of tech firms already active in the employment and training online market. They didn’t ask us for money. Rather, we brainstormed how government data, if released in a people-and-computer-friendly format, could serve as “rocket fuel” for their apps.
And then we went to work.
Inspired by President Obama’s Open Government Initiative and guided by the U.S. National Action Plan, we identified at least three areas where we might open up data that had previously been either in an inaccessible format, organized in a fragmented way, or largely unknown to the developer community:
- Military Service Information: Veterans today collect a form – the DD-214 – that captures their military “resume”; while it can be electronically accessed, the data within the form is protected and in a form that isn’t accessible for a computer to read. Building on the momentum of VA’s initiative, Dr. Levin expanded their “Blue Button” service - which enables a veteran to safely and securely download their personal health data in computer-friendly form - to include a veteran’s service history, training, and credentials. Launched just in the beginning of December, over 60,000 veterans have already downloaded a “Blue Button” file that can be shared with the products and service as they see fit, like the apps for heroes we saw last week.
- Military Skills Translator: The Department of Labor actively supports a non-profit, the O*Net center, to maintain a growing portfolio of tools and data sets that are freely available to developers or anyone for that matter. The problem was that very few of the developers we engaged over the past several months were even aware of this resource. When we showed them what we had they immediately went to work on “translating” military experience into skills that are relevant for their existing products and services.
- Job Postings from Employers Seeking Veterans: President Obama launched the“Veterans Job Bank” last November, which provides access to hundreds of thousands of job postings from employers actively committed to hiring veterans. Built on an open standard, the “JobPosting” schema – endorsed by a coalition of search engines (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) through the schema.org community – empowers any employer to ensure its job postings are discoverable by the Job Bank. The big idea is that instead of requiring every employer to update a centralized database, we can dynamically “search” for veteran-committed jobs. Its faster, cheaper, and more reliable way to connect employers to talent. The Job Bank itself is accessible at the National Resource Directory and its search widget, built in an effort to support developers has offered an API that delivers search results straight to the app.
Finally, I thought to share the power of Open Innovation @ Internet speed. At a Summer Jobs + event last Tuesday, Twilio CEO, Jeff Lawson challenged the Twilio developer community to build an “App for Heroes.” In about an hour – from concept to go-live – developer Tony Webster built HeroJobs.org, a text messaging app that sends job alerts to veterans every morning based on their preferences, experience, and zip code.
We were humbled and honored that so many innovative firms volunteered their time and effort to incorporate these – and other open government data sets – as an important ingredient for their innovate employment or training support service. Our visit inspired us to push even harder to release government data, celebrate its use, and to engage our veterans directly to ensure they have the support they need in this important life transition.
Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Peter Levin is Chief Technology Officer and Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs
- Posted byon January 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM EDT
In October, President Obama declared that, as a nation, we can’t wait for Congress to resolve their differences and start passing legislation that will jumpstart the economy. Since then, the President himself has taken almost 20 different actions to support the middle class and create jobs.
He's pushed new initiatives, launched new investments, and issued orders to make the government more efficient and effective.
We’ve put together a new video to give you a sense of exactly how much he’s gotten done—even in the face of Congressional gridlock and inaction.
Check out our We Can’t Wait page for more information on all these actions.
- Posted byon January 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM EDT
President Obama tells the American people about a series of steps he's taken without the help of Congress to grow the economy and create jobs -- including a new strategy aimed at boosting tourism introduced this week. In next week's State of the Union Address, the President will outline his blueprint for creating an economy built to last.
- Posted byon January 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM EDT
Addressing military spouse employment is an important priority for Joining Forces in 2012. Military spouses are resilient, flexible, loyal and highly educated. Yet they also have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country – 26 percent of military spouses who want to work can’t find employment.
On the heels of a tremendous hiring fair last week in Washington, DC, Joining Forces is pleased to support the Military Spouse Symposium & Career Fair on Thursday January 26 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, CA.
Co-produced by the Military Officers Association and Blue Star Families, this is a can’t-miss event for military spouses looking for meaningful employment. Whether you’re looking for a job now or preparing for a future career, you can take advantage of workshops and talk to experts and employers who can help. Held in conjunction with West 2012 (the largest military expo on the West Coast covering communications, electronics, intelligence, and more), the Military Spouse Symposium & Career Fair is free and open to all military spouses - all ranks, active duty, retired, Reserve and National Guard. Service members and veterans are also welcome.
There will be more than 50 employers at the event and they are there for one reason: to hire military spouse and veterans. Importantly, half of the employers are Military Spouse Employment Partners, which means they’ve made a public commitment to hire military spouses.
Register for the 2012 Military Spouse Symposium & Career Fair today.
Brad Cooper is Executive Director of Joining Forces in the Office of the First Lady.
- Posted byon January 20, 2012 at 3:58 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Disney World to announce new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. The fact is, each year, tens of millions of people from around the world visit the U.S. In 2010, the travel and tourism industry generated over $134 billion dollars for the American economy. It supported 7.5 million jobs in 2010. The President wants these numbers to grow.
He traveled down to the Magic Kingdom yesterday to deliver one message: America is open for business.
The President wants the United States to be the number one tourist destination in the world. It’s good for businesses and it’s good for the economy as a whole. More tourists means more money spent in our cities and towns across the nation. It means more people will be renting cars, dining out, checking into hotels and checking out the sights and sounds of America. That means more jobs.
The President will continue to do everything he can to rebuild an economy where hard work pays off, where responsibility is rewarded, and where anyone can make it if they try. He wants to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. Yesterday’s announcement was an important step to put folks back to work, and he’ll keep at it and continue to do everything he can to strengthen the economy.
The President’s announcement will have an impact on communities all over the United States. Let’s take a look at the coverage from local media outlets across the country:
Orlando Sentinel – Obama at Disney: 'America is open for business'
President Barack Obama promised Florida's tourism industry Thursday that he intends to open the door wider to international tourists and was greeted with cheers in a state where increased foreign visitors are seen as one of the best hopes for future jobs.
Even Obama critic U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, welcomed the presidential directives, if only with a "what took him so long?" spin.
Arizona Republic – Obama touting tourism for jobs
President Barack Obama said Thursday that he wants to create more jobs by drawing more international tourists to the United States, a plan White House officials said would especially benefit states like Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon and other national parks.
Creating jobs has become a central part of Obama's re-election campaign. On Wednesday, Obama will visit the Valley as part of a five-state tour to build upon themes -- likely jobs and economic development -- that he will emphasize Tuesday in his annual address to Congress.
- Posted byon January 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM EDT
In the United States, tourism is big business. In fact, it's the number one service that we export. In 2010, we welcomed nearly 60 million international visitors to America, and they helped to boost our economy to the tune of $134 billion.
And President Obama thinks we should do even more to boost that trend, which is why he traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Speaking from Main Street USA, he announced:
[Today,] I directed my administration to send me a new national tourism strategy focused on creating jobs. And some of America’s most successful business leaders –- some who are here today –- have signed up to help. We’re going to see how we can make it easier for foreign tourists to find basic information about visiting America. And we’re going to see how we can attract more tourists to our national parks. We want people visiting not just Epcot Center, but the Everglades, too. The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It’s that simple.
The President said that his goal is to ensure that the United States is the top tourist destination in the world. He announced efforts to expand the Global Entry Program, which makes it easier for frequent visitors to the United States -- who've undergone a background check -- to travel in and out of our borders. He told the audience that he'd directed his administration to add additional nations to the list of those whose citizens are allowed to visit America without a tourist visa.
And in changing world where the middle class is booming in places like China, India, and Brazil, the President announced steps to make it easier for people from those countries to choose the United States as a place for their vacations:
[Today] I’m directing the State Department to accelerate our ability to process visas by 40 percent in China and in Brazil this year. We’re not talking about five years from now or 10 years from now -- this year.
These are all things the President is doing right now -- as part of the We Can't Wait campaign.
Do you think your community is a great place to visit? Tell us about it on Twitter using the hashtag #VisitUS.
- Posted byon January 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM EDT
Last Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce kicked off a first-of-its-kind hiring fair focused exclusively on military spouses. The Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Career Forum, held in Washington, D.C., was the first of 10 planned hiring fairs for military spouses sponsored by the Chamber around the country in 2012.
This was a huge event and, walking around, I could not help but notice the incredible energy among employers and spouses alike. There was good reason for it -- more than 100 employers came to the forum with hundred of employment opportunities for the 1,000+ spouses in attendance.
With military spouse employment well above the national unemployment rate, this forum was a great start to a 2012 focus on military spouse employment by the Chamber of Commerce. Joining the effort is the Department of Defense's Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP). MSEP was rolled out by Dr Jill Biden at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in June 2011. To date, the 96 organizations and companies in the partnership have hired more than 13,000 military spouses around the world.
- Posted byon January 13, 2012 at 1:14 PM EDT
Today, President Obama announced a new plan that will make it easier to do business in America.
There are currently six major federal departments or agencies that focus on business or trade: the U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
The President is asking Congress for the authority to merge those six entities into a single department tasked with boosting American business and promoting competitiveness.
The way the system is currently organized, every entrepreneur who needs to do business with the government has to navigate a maze of overlapping regulations and competing bureaucracy.
We've put together a chart that shows exactly how impossible that process can be.
This move from President Obama would change that.
He's hoping to consolidate the redundancies that currently exist, to cut waste, and eliminate duplication.
By the way, this kind of authority isn't new or rare. Presidents had the ability to mandate this type of reorganization for almost the entire period from 1932 through 1984.
And the executive branch of the federal government shouldn't be stuck in 1984.
- Posted byon January 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM EDT
Yesterday, the White House hosted the “Insourcing American Jobs” forum with business leaders from across the country to discuss one topic: bringing jobs back to the United States. For too long factories have closed their doors and companies have shipped jobs overseas, where workers were cheaper. It’s damaged the economy and hurt middle class families all across the nation. The President believes we can change that.
Right now, we have a great opportunity for those jobs to come back – and the business leaders that joined President Obama yesterday understand that. We’re seeing an increasing trend of insourcing, where companies are bringing jobs back and making additional investments in America. Over the past two years American manufacturers have now added 334,000 jobs. Manufacturing production has increased by 5.7 percent. That’s a good thing, but we need to do more. That’s why the President called on companies to follow this trend and invest in America.
The President is working to restore the economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach it. He’ll continue to build an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. He knows this is a make or break moment for the middle class, and he’ll continue to do everything he can to give folks a fair shot and a chance to succeed.
He knows that America shouldn’t be a nation known for financial speculation and outsourcing. As he said yesterday, America should be known for making products and selling them all over the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”
The next generation of manufacturing jobs shouldn’t take root in countries like China or Germany – they should take root in cities across America. Some companies are already leading the way. Let’s take a look at news coverage of yesterday’s event from across the country:
McClatchy/Charlotte Observer/Miami Herald - Rebuilding a business, bringing jobs back
WASHINGTON – North Carolina has lost tens of thousands of furniture-making jobs over the past decade.
But Bruce Cochrane, who worked as a consultant in China and Vietnam after his family sold their furniture business in 1996, says rising Chinese wages and an increase in shipping costs have created an opportunity for him back home.
Cochrane has invested $5 million and is hiring 130 workers to build middle- to higher-priced solid-wood furniture in the same sprawling Lincolnton, N.C., warehouse that his family once ran. He even moved into his dad’s old office.
Now, President Barack Obama wants to know what Cochrane saw and why he’s taking such a chance in a region and industry battered by outsourced jobs. Cochrane stood Wednesday in the East Room of the White House as Obama said the Lincolnton man was proof that you don’t have to be a big manufacturer to make a difference.
- Posted byon January 11, 2012 at 6:02 PM EDT
At today's "Insourcing American Jobs" forum, President Obama talked about his hope for the future:
I don’t want America to be a nation that’s primarily known for financial speculation and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations. I want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.” And we can make that happen.
I don’t want the next generation of manufacturing jobs taking root in countries like China or Germany. I want them taking root in places like Michigan and Ohio and Virginia and North Carolina. And that’s a race that America can win.
"[My] message to business leaders today is simple: ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to the country that made our success possible," the President said. "And I'm going to do everything in my power to help you do it. We're going to have to seize this moment."