Last night, President Obama laid out a bold plan to create jobs and build a stronger economy. Urging Congress to end the political gridlock in Washington, the President called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to enable the Federal Government to meet its responsibilities to the American people. Across the country, I have seen firsthand how Federal investments and initiatives help businesses and communities strengthen local economies and jobs.
Today in Rochester, New York, I will visit with workers and employers at the city's Veterans Outreach Center, a program in partnership with New York State's Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), that has leveraged a Department of Labor grant to successfully train and place 90 percent of their graduates, our Nation's military veterans, into full-time, green technology jobs. As the President has said, we have hundreds of thousands of bright, skilled Americans who return from military service with unmatched leadership and technical skills. When given the resources, our veterans successfully translate their talents to the civilian workforce. The American Jobs Act puts more people back to work – veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, teachers laid off from state budget cuts, first responders, and construction workers rebuilding our roads, bridges, and schools.
As seen in Rochester, there is demand for clean energy and energy efficiency products, services, and jobs. As an Administration, we're making sure we do everything we can to grow those markets and jobs right here in America. The President's proposal includes robust investments to modernize at least 35,000 public schools to put Americans to work and provide our students with high-quality education and safe and healthy schools in which they can learn.
These immediate job creation ideas also include tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire and grow. It includes a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, tax relief, and an extension of the payroll tax cut. Supported by both Republicans and Democrats, the President's package will put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans – without adding to the deficit. With the Federal Government's investments and incentives put forth in the American Jobs Act, communities all over the country can continue to foster lasting progress for our economy and families. Congress should act immediately when they receive this legislation next week.
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality