Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Recognizing Leaders in Youth Job Creation

    Youth Jobs Logo

    President Obama is focused on accelerating economic recovery and boosting job creation for all Americans, particularly key segments that need better access to long-term employment. Last year, the White House Council for Community Solutions called attention to Opportunity Youth, the 6.7 million Americans between 16-24 years old and disconnected from school and work. The Council spent more than 18 months conducting research, hosting roundtables, and developing a robust set of recommendations on how to harness their extraordinary potential. 

    The cross-sector ideas shared by the Council catalyzed numerous new initiatives in the public and private sector. Within government, the President issued the Youth Jobs+ challenge back in April to engage local elected officials along with business and community leaders to work together to connect young people with summer and year-round job opportunities.

    There are many ways to support Youth Jobs+. To support efforts to boost job creation this summer, the President directed senior Administration officials to participate in local “Youth Jobs+ Roundtables” in urban centers and rural communities, meeting with local elected officials and community partners to generate commitments for addressing employment and jobs training for underserved local youth. To date, 15 roundtables have taken place all over the country, and 15 more will take place through August in cities and jurisdictions across the country.

  • State and Local Leaders Press Case for Commonsense Immigration Reform

    As commonsense immigration reform moves from the Senate to the House, a growing coalition of elected officials from across the country is urging Congress to fix our broken system. Last month, we heard from bipartisan state and local officials from the South, SouthwestNortheast, West, and Midwest on why they support immigration reform and how it will help their communities. In the past few weeks, state and local elected officials have further intensified their efforts to urge Congressional action.

    State and local elected officials understand that commonsense immigration reform is the right policy for our country and makes good economic sense for middle class families. Earlier this month, the White House released a report highlighting the numerous and varied economic benefits of fixing our broken immigration system, including helping to grow our economy by creating new business and jobs.

    Yesterday, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz spoke about the local economic costs of inaction on the federal level:

    "Because the crux of the matter is that, while Congress and the federal government have the authority to set immigration law and enforce it, local governments live with the results of what Congress does and fails to do."

    Below are some of the elected officials who recently added their voices in support for commonsense immigration reform:

    On July 17th, Governors from 15 states sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass commonsense immigration reform and highlighting the economic benefits to their states.

    "We all recognize that immigrants contribute a great deal to our economy and our culture. We should make sure they are fully integrated into the social, civic and economic fabric of American life and have access to the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. As Governors, we encourage you to adopt bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that reflects the values of our nation and contributes to the growth of our economies.”

    After the U.S. Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill on June 27th, the U.S. Conference of Mayors issued the following statement:

    “The nation’s mayors applaud the Senate’s decisive passage of bipartisan legislation that will repair our broken immigration system…We urge the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s strong lead and adopt comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform legislation this year. This is the right thing to do for our families, our cities, our economy, and our country.”

  • Know Anyone Who Helps Youth Find Jobs? They Might Be Invited to the White House!

    Ed note: This blog is cross-posted from the Youth Jobs+ page.

    Do you remember your first job? For young people, a first job always provides invaluable lessons that they’ll use the rest of their lives.

    Today, we’re issuing a challenge: tell us who the youth jobs champions are in your community by July 19 – the people or organizations who are having the biggest impact on preparing your community’s underserved youth to join the workforce. Those selected as Youth Jobs+ Champions of Change will be recognized at an event at the White House later this summer. 

    The White House Champions of Change program highlights individuals, businesses, and organizations whose extraordinary stories and accomplishments have made a difference in our communities.  The Youth Jobs+ Champions of Change event will honor heroes who are helping young people develop the skills and work ethic that come with employment. It will also honor some of the determined, extraordinary young people who have participated in these programs.

    President Obama knows the impact that jobs can have on our nation’s youth. That’s why in April, he challenged local elected officials and business and community leaders to work together to connect young people with summer and year-round job opportunities. 

    In addition, we’ve been co-hosting Youth Jobs+ Roundtables across the country with local leaders. These roundtables bring together senior Administration officials, local elected officials and community partners to generate commitments for addressing employment and jobs training for underserved local youth.  So far, 17 roundtables have taken place in communities across the country, in small towns like Wyandanch, New York and in big cities like Portland, Oregon. In July, we expect 11 additional roundtables will take place throughout the U.S.

    To learn more about President Obama’s Youth Jobs+ initiative, visit To nominate a Champion, or learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit  The open nomination period closes Friday, July 19.

    Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls. Danielle Gray is Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President.

  • Local Officials Help Welcome More Than 7,800 New Citizens During Independence Day Celebrations

    One week after the United States Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill, local officials helped celebrate Independence Day by participating in naturalization ceremonies to welcome new American citizens. From July 1st to July 5th, over 7,800 individuals will become new citizens at more than 100 special ceremonies across the country and around the world. These ceremonies are part of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) annual celebration of Independence Day .

    “With this ceremony today -- and ceremonies like it across our country -- we affirm another truth: Our American journey, our success, would simply not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have come to our shores from every corner of the globe.  We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means -- we are a nation of immigrants” said President Obama last year, during a July 4th naturalization ceremony at the White House.

    Across the country, local officials joined in the celebration to welcome the new citizens to the country and to their communities:

    Miami, FL

    On July 4th, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez delivered remarks at a naturalization ceremony at the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida. At this ceremony, 211 citizenship candidates from 50 countries became U.S. citizens.

    During his remarks, Mayor Gimenez said, "We are indeed a nation of immigrants, and with each successive generation and each new wave of new comers, our cultural fabric becomes even richer. I understand that you- soon to be our newest citizens- hail from 50 different nations and that really says it all. There's clearly an important debate going on right now about the future of immigration. And it's my sincere hope that American will always remain the 'shining city on the hill' that the great President Ronald Reagan often spoke of." 

    Chicago, IL
    Chicago Mayor Emanuel participates in a Naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, IL.

    (Photo courtesy City of Chicago)

    On July 3rd, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois. At this ceremony, 71 citizenship candidates from 32 countries became U.S. citizens. 

    Following the ceremony, Mayor Emanuel shared, “We are a nation of immigrants and it is fitting that we hold this ceremony to welcome all of our new citizens the day before we celebrate the 4th of July and our nation's independence. Now, after the Senate’s historic vote, it is time for all of us to call on the United States House of Representatives to take quick action to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that is true to our values as a nation and will create value for our city long into the future.”  

    Tampa, FL
    Tampa Mayor Buckhorn delivers the keynote address at a naturalization ceremony

    (Photo courtesy City of Tampa)

    On July 4th, Tampa Mayor Buckhorn delivered the key note address at a naturalization ceremony at the Tampa Bay History Center in Tampa, Florida. At this ceremony, 65 citizenship candidates from 27 countries became U.S. citizens.

    Before the ceremony, Mayor Buckhorn said, “Each Independence Day, we celebrate our founding fathers, the revolutionaries who fought for freedom, and defined what it means to be an American. It is also the prefect day to celebrate the immigrants who continue to come to the United States, as they have for generations, in a similar search for a better life. A week ago, the Senate passed a bill that will fix our broken immigration system by securing our border, reforming the legal process, and providing undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. This reform honors our history and reflects the core values that we share. To the thousands of men and women across the country who will become citizens this Independence Day, I say: Welcome home.” 

    David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

  • Responsibility to Future Generations: Renewable Energy Development on Tribal Lands

    Today, the President announced his comprehensive plan to cut the carbon pollution that is changing our climate and affecting public health.  Reducing carbon pollution will keep our air and water clean and safe for our kids and grandkids.  It will also create jobs in the industries of the future as we modernize our power plants to produce cleaner forms of American-made energy that reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  And it will lower home energy bills and begin to slow the effects of climate change.

    David Agnew Meets with Leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Moapa Solar Project

    David Agnew, Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, meets with leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and the Moapa Solar Project. (by Eric Lee)

    While no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, we need to begin preparing to leave a safe and clean planet to our children.  Last weekend, in the desert northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the privilege of visiting a project that is already working to meet the challenges laid out today in the President's Climate Action Plan.  The intense desert heat and bright sun made it crystal clear to anyone who stepped outside that this location has plenty of solar energy to harness. 

    The Moapa Solar Project, on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, is a 350 megawatt solar energy project that will help power over 100,000 homes and generate 400 jobs at peak construction.   The Moapa Paiute tribe has set aside approximately 2,000 acres of their 72,000 acre Reservation for the project, including some acreage to ensure a protected habitat for the endangered desert tortoises living near the project. A commitment to protect their tribal homelands from the effects of existing power sources led this tribe to gain approval from the Secretary of the Interior in 2012 for construction of the first utility-scale solar project on tribal lands.  As part of the President's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Moapa Solar project will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil while creating good jobs in the heart of Indian Country - jobs that can’t be shipped overseas. 

  • Leaders Across the Southwest Say It's Time to Fix the Broken Immigration System

    Ed. note: This post is the fourth in a series of five. Check back on the White House Blog throughout the week for more statements from leaders around the country.

    Last week, we heard from state and local officials from across the South, Northeast, and Midwest United States about why they support immigration reform and how it will help their communities. Today, officials in the Southwest explain why the time is now to fix the broken immigration system.

    "Federal immigration policies have a direct impact on Denver’s residents and Denver’s economy. We need long-overdue reforms that keep our communities strong, keep families together, ensure an adequate labor force for a growing economy and maintain the safety of all of our residents. I applaud President Obama for moving forward with fortitude and pushing Washington to rise above partisan gridlock and craft reasonable, sensible changes."

    Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael Hancock

    "I thank the President for starting the formal consideration of immigration reform by laying out his vision and principles.  This is an important economic and social issue that has languished unresolved for too long. Now is the time for Washington to come together and take action."

    Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith

    “Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is both a practical and a human necessity. In Santa Fe, New Mexico hard-working immigrant families make important contributions to our community every day. They are business owners, workers, students, artists, musicians, parents, police officers and members of our Armed Services. I want all immigrant family members in Santa Fe and across our country to have their basic rights and be able to become full participants in our communities.  They need a legal path to citizenship. It will make my town and our country stronger.”

    Santa Fe, New Mexico Mayor David Coss