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Reforming America’s Job-Driven Training Programs: Barack & Joey B. Visit Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania.


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

Reforming America’s Job-Driven Training Programs

 

In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden would lead a reform of America’s job training programs, making sure that these programs “train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.”

 

This afternoon, the President and Vice President visited the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania to announce progress on that reform.

 

 

 

The President and Vice President Speak on Skills Training for Workers

 

Published on Apr 16, 2014

President Obama and Vice President Biden deliver remarks on the importance of jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy. April 16, 2014.

 

“CCAC is an outstanding model of the kind of job-driven training we’re trying to encourage all across the country,” said President Obama. “You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives — and we want to spread the word.”

 

The President first announced a nearly $500 million competition in which the federal government will award grants to community colleges and employers partnering together to develop job-driven training programs.

 

We’ve asked more community colleges to do what you’ve done here at Allegheny, and that is to figure out what skills local employers are looking for, and then partner with them to help design the curriculums and to prepare the students for those jobs. We want a seamless progression from community college programs to industry-recognized credentials and credit towards a college degree.

And today I’m announcing that we’re going to award nearly $500 million to those institutions who are doing it best in all 50 states — using existing money to create opportunity for hardworking folks like you.

 

He also announced a $100 million competition for American Apprenticeship Grants, which will expand the types of apprenticeships that help put young people and experienced workers on an upward career trajectory.

 

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker tour a classroom at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., April 16, 2014. Students Zach Kuzma and Stephanie Womack demonstrate equipment that teaches students how to manipulate gears, pulleys, sprockets, etc. to adjust the speed and/or torque of a motor or system. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

“When it comes to training our workers,” the President said, “not all of today’s good jobs require a four-year college degree. But I promise you, there’s not a job out there that’s going to pay a lot if you don’t have some sort of specialized training. So our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race.”

 

Learn more about how the federal government — as well as employers, unions, and foundations — are supporting job-driven training.

 

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FACT SHEET – American Job Training Investments: Skills and Jobs to Build a Stronger Middle Class

 

 

Obama, Biden coming to CCAC

 

Published on Apr 15, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center Wednesday to spotlight what they call “jobs-driven skills training.”

 

 

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Barack & Joey B. & Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald at 171st Air Refueling Wing

Barack & Joey B.
& Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald at 171st Air Refueling Wing

 

 

The President Tours The Community College of Allegheny Training Center

 

President Barack Obama tours a classroom with Paul Blackford, instructor of the Mechatronics Program, at Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center

President Barack Obama tours a classroom with Paul Blackford, instructor of the Mechatronics Program, at Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center

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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden tour the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center with students in the Mechatronics program

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden tour the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center with students in the Mechatronics program

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Barack & Joey B. talk with Tyron Baltimore and Melissa Ayers, students at CCAC West Hills Center.

Barack & Joey B. talk with Tyron Baltimore and Melissa Ayers, students at CCAC West Hills Center.

 

 

The President and Vice President Speak on Skills Training for Workers (Full Transcript)

 

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President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., The visit was to announce $600M in grants as part of the administration’s Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand.

President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., The visit was to announce $600M in grants as part of the administration’s Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand.

 

Hello, Allegheny County! (Applause.) Joe and I decided it was time for a guys’ trip. (Laughter.) Actually, Michelle and Jill wanted us out the house. (Laughter.) So we decided to take a little road trip. And we are thrilled to be back here with a lot of good friends and folks who are doing terrific work every single day.

 

 
We brought with us some people who are doing some important work, trying to make sure that we’re building on the kind of success that we’re seeing here — first of all, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is here. Give Penny a big round of applause. (Applause.) We’ve got a great friend and an outstanding Senator — Bob Casey in the house. (Applause.) Congressman Mike Doyle is here. (Applause.)

 

 

One of the biggest Steelers fans we’ve got. (Laughter.) We’ve got County Executive Rich Fitzgerald here in the house. (Applause.) Outstanding Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto is here. (Applause.) And your college president, Quintin Bullock is here. (Applause.)

 

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And of course, all of you are here. (Applause.) Yeah! Yeah! (Laughter.) Now, we’re here because CCAC is an outstanding model of the kind of job-driven training we’re trying to encourage all across the country. And Joe and I just spent some time checking out the machines and motors that are being used here to train folks in mechatronics. Now, I have to say that before I came here I didn’t know there was such a thing as mechatronics. (Laughter.) Sounds like something that Godzilla would be fighting. (Laughter.) It turns out it has to do with engineering, how stuff works. And we saw firsthand everything that you are doing to train more workers for new jobs and better jobs — jobs companies need to keep growing.

 

And what we want to do is we want to replicate your model across the country. You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives — (applause) — and we want to spread the word. (Applause.) So that’s why we’re here today in Allegheny County, because I’m taking some new action to expand this kind of job-driven training to all 50 states.

 

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And Joe talked a little bit about why we have to do this — because in today’s economy, it’s never been more important to make sure that our folks are trained for the jobs that are there — and for the jobs of the future.

 

Now, we’ve spent the past five and a half years fighting back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. The good news is our economy is growing again, our businesses are creating jobs. We’ve created nearly 9 million jobs over the past four years. We’ve cut our deficits by more than half. Our manufacturing sector that used to be losing jobs, just hemorrhaging jobs, is now adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. (Applause.) The first time since the 1990s. High school dropout rates are going down. College attendance rates and graduation rates are going up. Our troops are coming home. (Applause.) We’re seeing an energy boom all across the country. And more than 7.5 million people have been able to sign up for health care, many for the very first time, through the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.) And 7.5 million people, by the way, is about the number that it would take to fill up Heinz Field 115 times.

 

So there are a lot of good trends that are taking place. And a lot of that has to do with the great work that our outstanding Vice President is doing. (Applause.) It has to do with the great work that folks like Mike and Bob and Rich are doing, and your outstanding Mayor in Pittsburgh and all he’s doing to help transform the economy there.

 

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But here’s the challenge — and a lot of folks here know it. A lot of people don’t feel that progress in their own lives yet. So the stock market is doing great. Corporate profits are soaring. Folks at the very, very top are doing better than ever. But too many Americans, if they’re lucky enough to have a job, are working harder and harder just to get by, much less to get ahead. For too many middle-class Americans, it feels as if the same trends that have been going on for decades are continuing. You’re working hard, but wages flat-line, incomes flat-line, cost of everything else going up.

 

So we’ve got to reverse those trends. We’ve got to make sure that we have an economy that’s not just growing from the top down — because it doesn’t really grow when it’s just from the top down. We’ve got to have an economy where it grows from the middle class out, and from the bottom up, and everybody has a chance. (Applause.)

 

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That’s the idea of America — if you work hard, you can get ahead. That’s the promise at the heart of this country. If you’re responsible, you’re willing to put in some sweat, you can get ahead. You may not be fabulously wealthy, but you can support a family; you can buy a home; make sure your kids are doing good and they can go to college; have something left over for retirement; have health care you can count on; maybe take a vacation once in a while — (laughter) — just the basics and knowing that you’re part of a community that is growing for everybody, not just some.

 

Restoring that idea is the defining issue of our time. And so the truth is — Joe and I, we were talking about this the other day — we sometimes sound like a broken record because we’ve been talking about this for six, seven, eight years, ever since we’ve been in public office. But it’s more urgent than ever now that we move forward. And we know what to do.

 

We’re pushing a four-part opportunity agenda. And the first part is more good jobs paying good wages — manufacturing jobs, construction jobs, jobs in energy, jobs in innovation, jobs in infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and our bridges — putting people back to work. There’s a lot more we could be doing.

 

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Number two, we’ve got to train more Americans with the skills to fill the jobs that are there, just like you do here at CCAC. Number three, we’ve got to guarantee every young American a world-class education. And number four, when people do have a job, we’ve got to make sure that job pays a decent wage and that you have savings you can retire on and health care you can count on. (Applause.)

 

These are the things we’ve got to be doing. You know it; I know it. That’s what would put our unemployment rate down faster. It would pull our wages up faster. It’s what we could do to create more jobs and economic security for a lot of families that have been reaching for it for years. And every single person you send to Washington should be focused on that issue. That’s what America needs right now.

 

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Today, the reason we came here is to focus on that second part of that agenda — training Americans with the skills that they need for the good jobs that are going to be here today and tomorrow.

 

Around here, you know better than most how in recent decades the economy hasn’t always worked for middle-class families. You saw outsourcing. There was a time when finding a good job in manufacturing wasn’t all that hard. If you were willing to work, you could go to the local factory, maybe the factory your dad was working in, and say, I’m ready to go, and they’d sign you up.

 

And over time, the economy changed, part of it because of globalization, some of it because of new technologies. And you’ve seen, sometimes painfully, where technology shutters factories and ships jobs overseas, and even makes some jobs obsolete.

 

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But you know what, we’re not going to reverse all those trends. We can’t stop technology. And you’ve got a global economy now where we’ve got to compete. We live in a 21st century global economy. Jobs know no borders, and companies are able to seek out the best-educated, most highly-skilled workers wherever they live. And that’s where the good jobs and the good pay and the good benefits is going to be.

 

Other countries know this. Countries like Germany, China, India — they’re working every day to out-educate our kids so they can out-compete our businesses. And each year, frankly, it shows that they’re making more progress than we are. We’re still ahead, we’ve still got the best cards, but they’re making some good decisions. We’ve got to make those same decisions.

 

And when it comes to training our workers, not all of today’s good jobs require a four-year college degree, but I promise you, there’s not a job out there that’s going to pay a lot if you don’t have some sort of specialized training. So our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race.

 

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And you see what happens when we put effort into making sure workers have new skills — the education that’s required for this 21st century economy. At a time when traditional manufacturing is back on the rise, Pittsburgh is seeing new factories manufacturing new technologies across the board. And I know you’re County Executive and your Mayor and steel workers –everybody is — we’re focused on bringing jobs back. And the good news is they’re coming back. The problem is we’re having trouble filling some of those jobs.

 

I mean, there’s been great progress in this area. You’ve earned a great nickname — “Roboburgh” — because you’ve got high-tech plants and workplaces that are adding jobs faster than workers can fill them. That’s a good problem to have. But we’ve got a lot of Americans who are still looking for work or underemployed and not getting paid enough. That’s where what you do here is making a difference.

 

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America has got a choice to make. We can do nothing — which is the strategy that some folks in Washington seem to have — or we can do what we’ve always done best: We pull together; we fight back; and we win. (Applause.) That’s what we do best.

 

So earlier this year, I asked Joe to work with Penny Pritzker and Tom Perez, our Labor Secretary, to lead an across-the-board reform of all of our federal training programs to make sure they’ve got one clear mission: Train Americans with the skills employers need. Not something that looks good on paper, but doesn’t give you a job; find out what are the jobs that need to be filled and make sure folks are being trained and matched to those good jobs.

 

We’ve got to move away from what our Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, calls a “train and pray” approach. We train them and we pray that they can get a job. (Laughter.) Because the problem there is students, when they go to a community college, they go to a four-year university, they’re taking out debt. They’re straining their budgets. We got to make sure that it pays off for them. So we need to take a job-driven approach. And that’s what you’ve done here in Allegheny County. That’s what you’re doing here. (Applause.)

 

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So we’re rewarding high schools that redesign their curriculums to help students gain ready-to-work skills even earlier because there’s no reason why you got to wait for college. Our high schools could be providing more relevant education and making kids more job-ready. (Applause.)

 

We are supporting partnerships between employers and local governments and nonprofits to help unemployed workers who’ve been sidelined for too long, help them get the skills that they need, help to connect them to the jobs that require those skills. We’re working with a bipartisan coalition of governors and mayors across the country to make job training partnerships a reality for more Americans.

 

But we could be doing a lot more. And I’ve asked Congress to invest in serious programs that connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. (Applause.) And in fairness, Mike Doyle, he’s supportive of that and Bob Casey is supportive of it. But, unfortunately, there are some other folks in Washington that haven’t acted yet. They haven’t been getting the job done so far. And Americans can’t afford to wait.

 

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So today, I’m taking two significant actions that don’t require Congress — (applause) — that don’t require Congress. First, we’ve asked more community colleges to do what you’ve done here at Allegheny, and that is to figure out what skills local employers are looking for, and then partner with them to help design the curriculums and to prepare the students for those jobs. We want a seamless progression from community college programs to industry-recognized credentials and credit towards a college degree.

 

And today I’m announcing that we’re going to award nearly $500 million to those institutions who are doing it best in all 50 states — using existing money to create opportunity for hardworking folks like you. (Applause.) That’s good.

 

Second — and this is related — we’re launching a $100 million competition for what we’re calling American Apprenticeship Grants. Now, these are awards that are going to expand the kinds of apprenticeships that help young people and experienced workers get on a path towards advancement, towards better jobs, better pay, a trajectory upwards in their careers.

 

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And apprenticeships are a way to link more Americans to jobs in some of our in-demand fields, like IT and health care. They let you earn while you learn. And sometimes it makes — it’s possible for them to also create college credits on the job, even as you’re pursuing a degree or a better job.

 

Right now, nearly nine out of 10 apprentices — folks who are in apprenticeships, they get hired when they’re finished — which makes sense, right? You get an apprenticeship; you’re there, you’re learning on the job. People see that you’re serious about working. So nine out of 10 folks, once they get an apprenticeship, they get hired. And by the way, they make an average of $50,000.

 

So we’re streamlining efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor to help veterans access their GI Bill benefits for apprenticeships. Businesses, unions, community colleges, nonprofits — we’re getting them to work with us as well. The UAW is joining with the Big Three and John Deere and others to add nearly 2,000 apprentices. Some of the biggest manufacturers are partnering with community colleges in North Carolina and Texas and California on high-skill training programs.

 

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And now we want to work with national industry associations to help partnerships like these take root all across the country — so that anybody, in any city, any state, can earn the training they need to get the good jobs of tomorrow. So the bottom line is if you’re willing to put in the work to get a job or earn a promotion in today’s economy, America’s job-training system should give you every possible chance.

 

And you’re doing it here. When we took that tour, we saw young people and some not-so-young people — I won’t say who. I don’t want to offend. (Laughter.) But these are folks who — many of them were in a job right now, but they saw that it was a dead-end and they wanted to make sure that they could get a better job. Some of them were just getting started. But either way, their investment and their effort was being rewarded.

 

One person we met is a gentleman named Tim Wright. He was showing us some of the computer systems that folks are working on. Now, Tim worked as a shift laborer for 13 years, loading rail cars, moving equipment, working nights, working weekends. And he always had his eye on moving into industrial maintenance so he could repair and oversee the factory’s equipment, but he couldn’t pass the skills test. I love this about Tim. He did not give up. He didn’t say, well, I guess I can’t get to my dream. Instead he started on this mechatronics training at CCAC.

 

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So he’d squeeze in classes whenever he could, while he was still working his shifts. And after six months of hard work, he graduated as an industry-certified mechatronics technician. He re-took the test. He passed the test. (Applause.) Today, Tim is doing what he set out to do. (Applause.) So today he’s working on a factory floor, making sure the machines do what they’re supposed to do. He earns more money, he works better hours. He has more time to spend with his family.

 

And I want to read what Tim said here about this. He said, “That extra training made all the difference in the world. Those were the skills I needed to get to the next level.”

 

So I couldn’t be prouder of Tim. Those are the victories — they don’t get a lot of publicity. Tim’s name won’t be in the papers — although now it may be because I just talked about him. (Laughter.) But that’s what America is all about, each of us working to try to move forward. And by each of us moving forward, we all move forward. And then, we reach back and we help other folks.

 

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Companies that are represented here today — like Alle-Kiski and Schroeder and Aerotech — they’re helping. They want to help even more of their workers to take their skills to the next level, whether it’s through a community college partnership like Tim’s, or working with organizations like New Century Careers here in southwestern Pennsylvania. (Applause.) More workers getting apprenticeships. We know it works. And if it worked for folks like Tim and some of the men and women who are standing behind me here today, who took the initiative to upgrade their skills and stay ahead of the jobs curve and prepare themselves for a new job or a better job, then it can work all across the country.

 

We want that for every American. Everybody who works hard and takes responsibility deserves a chance to get ahead. That is what this country is built on. That’s what the moment requires. That’s what Congress should be working on. (Applause.) That’s what Joe is working on. That’s what I’m working on. That’s what you’re working on. And if we keep on working, we’re going to move forward.

 

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Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

 

 

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The Teflon Dons On The Tarmac Before Boarding Their Respective Planes Home

The Teflon Dons On The Tarmac Before Boarding Their Respective Planes Home

The Smile That Makes Females Swoon.

The Smile That Makes Females Swoon.

The best selfie ever taken

The best selfie ever taken

Barack Landing At Andrews Air Force Base

Barack Landing At Andrews Air Force Base

Compassion was his thing even back in 1995 as he read to neighborhood children in his days as a community organizer.

Compassion was his thing even back in 1995 as he read to neighborhood children in his days as a community organizer.

Somebody explain to me, Where were these concerned Bundy Ranch protesters when a mentally ill homeless BLACK man was killed by New Mexico cops two weeks ago.....ain't THAT the gubmint taking away his freedom to be on public land?

Somebody explain to me, Where were these concerned Bundy Ranch protesters when a mentally ill homeless BLACK man was killed by New Mexico cops two weeks ago…..ain’t THAT the gubmint taking away his freedom to be on public land?

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What A Day For Barack & Joey B…. Joey Joins Instagram Then The Dynamic Hit Pennsylvania.


 

By Jueseppi B.

The Teflon Don, Barack & Joey B....arrive in Pennsylvania

The Teflon Dons, Barack & Joey B….arrive in Pennsylvania

 

Vice President Biden Joins Instagram

 

Today, we’re excited to announce the Office of the Vice President is joining Instagram to give followers a unique look inside the Vice Presidency. This new social media presence continues efforts by the Vice President’s Office to connect with citizens online, adding to his official Twitter handle and the Being Biden audio series.

 

The VP’s Instagram followers will have access to behind-the-scenes photos from the road and around the White House. And today, as the Vice President joins President Obama in Pennsylvania to announce grants that will spur job training and apprenticeship programs, you’re invited to follow along on Instagram.

 

VPOTUSA, Joseph Robinette "Joey B" Biden, Jr., joins instagram

VPOTUSA, Joseph Robinette “Joey B” Biden, Jr., joins instagram

Joey B on Instagram: Wheels up for Pennsylvania: Vice President Biden is in Pittsburgh with President Obama

Joey B on Instagram:
Wheels up for Pennsylvania: Vice President Biden is in Pittsburgh with President Obama

 

Stay tuned for photos and videos from the Vice President – and don’t forget to check out our other official Instagram accounts, including: The White HouseFirst Lady Michelle ObamaandChief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza.

 

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The Dynamic Duo Visit The Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center To Promote Skills and Jobs & Build A Stronger Middle Class

Striving to show action on jobs, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are hitting the road to trumpet $600 million in new competitive grants to spur creation of targeted training and apprenticeship programs that could help people land well-paying jobs.

They were making the announcement Wednesday at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in the western Pennsylvania borough of Oakdale.

Administration officials say they hear from too many businesses that they cannot find skilled workers for jobs they need to fill. On top of that, officials say many people who are looking for work may be open to learning new skills but need assurance that a job will be waiting for them at the end of a training program.

Obama and others in the administration often say community colleges are among the best sources for job training and say learn-on-the-job apprenticeship programs provide some of the most direct paths to well-paying jobs.

Although the economy is improving, unemployment remains stubbornly high at 6.7 percent and Obama says more must be done to create jobs.

 

The programs that Obama and his Pennsylvania-born vice president are announcing do not need approval from Congress because they will be paid for with money that lawmakers have already authorized for spending. In response to stiff resistance to his agenda from Republican lawmakers, Obama has made it a goal this year to take smaller steps on his own, without support from Congress, to benefit the economy, workers and others, and Wednesday’s program fits that script.

 

The larger of the two grant programs will put nearly $500 million toward a job training competition run by the Labor Department that is designed to encourage community colleges, employers and industry to work together to create training programs that are geared toward the jobs employers need to fill. Applications will be available starting Wednesday.

 

The training is part of an existing competitive grant program for community colleges that prepare dislocated workers and others for jobs.

 

A priority will be placed on partnerships that include national entities, such as industry associations, that pledge to help design and institute programs that give job seekers a credential that will be recognized and accepted across a particular industry, signaling to an employer what kind of work the holder can do.

 

The Labor Department is also making an additional $100 million available for grants to reward partnerships that expand apprenticeship programs.

 

Apprenticeships are used less widely in the U.S. than in some other countries, said administration officials, who also noted that nearly 9 out of 10 apprentices end up in jobs that pay average starting salaries of above $50,000 a year.

 

The apprenticeship grant program will begin in the fall and focus, in part, on broad partnerships that create programs in high-growth fields, such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing, as well as programs that provide college credit or industry-wide skills certification.

 

Obama earlier this year put Biden, who is a native of Scranton, Pa., in charge of a “soup-to-nuts” review of federal job-training programs, and set a July 30 deadline for his report.

 

House Republicans have complained that Biden’s effort is a waste of time because the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, has identified redundancies in a comprehensive review it completed in 2011. They have urged Obama to press his allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate to vote on a House-passed measure that proposes to streamline dozens of duplicative job training programs.

 

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Creating Pathways to Successful Careers: Erick Varela’s Story

 

 

President Obama And Vice President Biden Provide Encouragement

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

PG&E, like utilities across the country, faces a wave of retirements over the next five years, with nearly 40 percent of its 21,000 employees eligible to trade paychecks for pension checks. This is a trend that concerns me as Chairman and CEO of PG&E.

 

To help build a pipeline of new skilled workers, PG&E created a workforce training program in 2008 called PowerPathway. The program is a partnership with community colleges and workforce investment boards in PG&E’s service area, which covers much of Northern and Central California.

 

Last year, nearly 250 students graduated from PowerPathway, and more than 81 percent of them were offered jobs at PG&E or elsewhere in the utility industry.

 

Not only is the program helping fill utilities’ need for skilled workers, it has also helped address unemployment in California and — notably — among military veterans returning from service. Veterans’ unemployment rates are far higher than the national average, and as a Navy veteran, I’m pleased to see PG&E create career paths targeting veterans and the long-term unemployed.

 

One graduate’s story, in particular, brings the program’s success to life. Erick Varela, a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, was homeless and jobless for almost a year when he was accepted to PowerPathway. Today, thanks to the training he received, he’s an IBEW apprentice electrician for PG&E. And in January 2014, Erick was chosen to introduce President Obama at the White House for an event highlighting the President’s initiative on long-term unemployment — an initiative PG&E is honored to support.

 

 

Opportunity For All: Erick’s Story

 

Published on Feb 12, 2014

President Obama is calling on companies across the country to give long-term unemployed Americans a fair shot, and help connect them to good jobs. Erick Varela was an unemployed veteran who got back on his feet thanks to a 16-week job-training program at Pacific Gas and Electric.

Learn more about what the President is doing in this year of action:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/raise-the-wage
http://www.whitehouse.gov/year-of-action

 

 

I’m proud of the good work Erick is doing for PG&E and of the success of PowerPathway, which has become the benchmark for workforce training programs. Thanks to innovative partnerships, the program is producing exceptional, diverse, local candidates who are successfully starting careers at PG&E and throughout the utility industry.

 

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Business School Deans Meet to Discuss Best Practices for a 21st Century Workplace

 

 

White House senior advisors meet with business school deans in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, April 16, 2014.

White House senior advisors meet with business school deans in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, April 16, 2014.

As part of the lead up to the White House Summit on Working Families, we have been seeking input from a wide variety of stakeholders to identify best practices for developing workplaces that work for all Americans and better meet the needs of women and working families. We did not think this goal could be achieved without thinking of the business leaders of tomorrow, and that is why today, we met with a group of deans from our nation’s leading business schools to discuss best practices for business schools that can better prepare their students for the increasing importance of women in the labor force and the prevalence of employees with families where all parents work.

 

Women are now more likely to graduate with a college degree and are increasingly entering formally male-dominated professions, however recent research has shed light on the issues still facing professional women. Women not only start their careers with lower pay, but the pay gap grows over time. One study of MBA graduates from a leading institution found that women earned $115K on average when they graduate and $250K after nine years while men earn $130K when they graduate and $400K after nine years. CEA analysis has shown that a similar trend holds for all men and women with a professional degree—the pay gap grows over time and earnings are more than 50 percent higher for men when professionals are in their late 30s.

 

One important reason for this disparity is the lack of flexibility in the workplace. Surveys of MBA graduates demonstrate that women are penalized due to career interruptions, often from motherhood. Even if women are working, they often must accept positions that offer significantly lower pay or growth opportunities in order to have flexible work schedules to balance responsibilities outside of the workplace. CEA has found that married women with young children contribute less to family earnings than married women without children, likely for this reason. Although some industries have embraced part-time work, flexible work schedules, and policies that make it easier to reenter the workforce after taking a leave, many high-powered careers still lack workplace flexibility and are losing out on talent—both men and women—as a result.

 

Research also suggests that even workplaces free of overt gender discrimination can have barriers that prevent talented women from reaching their potential and fully contributing to their organization. Studies have found that mentoring can be successful in helping women advance in their careers by imparting leadership skills and guiding future leaders through an organization. There is also evidence that mentors, especially female mentors, can help women with quality of life issues, including balancing family responsibilities. However, women often struggle to find mentor relationships, especially with male superiors.

 

In addition to these issues, today’s meeting examined leadership, retention rates, business school culture, and the timing of business school in the lifecycle. Business schools can take important steps to prepare the next generation of business leaders to focus on these issues. Too few businesses recognize that many of their workers need to be able to balance home and professional responsibilities and are failing to acknowledge that simple policy changes will help bolster a company’s productivity through attraction and retention of the most talented and educated workers. In order to ensure business practices that fully utilize a 21st century workforce, it is important for business school deans to update their curriculum and practices to fully reflect the importance of women and working families in our labor market.

 

In the weeks ahead, we will work to compile best practices that will then be signed on to by a larger group of business schools than those attending today’s meeting. This will also contribute to the larger goal of the White House Summit on Working Families. The Summit will convene businesses, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates, and the media to discuss issues facing the entire spectrum of working families. The discussions will focus on key issues such as: workplace flexibility, equal pay, pregnancy discrimination, paid family and medical leave, worker retention and promotion, and childcare/early childhood education.

 

We would also like to thank the business school deans who contributed to today’s valuable discussion:

 

  • Maryam Alavi, Emory University (Goizueta)
  • Sally Blount, Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • William Boulding, Duke University (Fuqua)
  • Robert F. Bruner, University of Virginia (Darden)
  • Robert M. Dammon, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  • Alison Davis-Blake, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)
  • Soumitra Dutta, Cornell University (Johnson)
  • Thomas W. Gilligan, University of Texas, Austin (McCombs)
  • Peter Blair Henry, New York University (Stern)
  • Richard K. Lyons, University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
  • Nitin Nohria, Harvard Business School
  • Judy D. Olian, University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)
  • Douglas A. Shackelford, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
  • Edward A. Snyder, Yale University

 

For more details on the Working Families Summit and how you can get involved, visit http://workingfamiliessummit.org/.

 

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FACT SHEET – American Job Training Investments: Skills and Jobs to Build a Stronger Middle Class

 

 

Obama, Biden coming to CCAC

 

Published on Apr 15, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will visit the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center Wednesday to spotlight what they call “jobs-driven skills training.”

 

 

 

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From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

 

Barack & Joey B. Tout Job Training In North Fayette

 

By James O’Toole / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

President Barack Obama joined Vice President Joe Biden in highlighting a refocused federal job-training initiative during a visit this afternoon to North Fayette.

“We’re here because CCAC is an outstanding model of the kind of job-driven training we’re trying to encourage all over the country,” Mr. Obama told an invited crowd of 150 after a brief tour of the West Hills Center of the Community College of Allegheny County.

Moments earlier, Mr. Obama, Mr. Biden and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker had watched a brief demonstration of the work of some of the students.

After listening to one student explain an electronic system they were being trained on, Mr. Obama said, “This is clearly an A student. She sounds like a teacher.”

 

“I’m so proud of what you guys are doing,” he said at another stop in the demonstration.

 

In his speech a few moments later, he described a $500 million grant program keyed to partnerships with employers. In a sequel to a pledge in his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama outlined revised criteria for the Trade Adjustment Assistance and Community College and Career Training competitive grant program. The grants are designed to help community colleges prepare dislocated workers for new job skills in demand in their regional economies.

 

“We want to replicate your model across the country,” he said. “You’re doing something right.”

 

During the visit, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden also announced $100 million in new grants for industry apprenticeships. Funding for those would come from fees employers pay for H1-B visas, which allow highly skilled foreigners to work in the United States. Those fees typically go to other one-time expenditures that support job-training programs to prepare American workers for jobs eligible to be filled by H1-B visa holders.

 

White House officials said the college was selected to host the event in part to recognize its industrial maintenance program that trains students to repair and make parts for complex machinery. The specialty is know as mechatronics. Mr. Obama confessed the term was a new one to him.

 

“Sounds like something Godzilla should be fighting,” he joked.

 

Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden arrived separately at Pittsburgh International Airport, where Air Force One and Air Force Two were parked side by side. They were greeted by Sen. Bob Casey, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, U.S. Attorney David Hickton, and Col. Mark Goodwill, commander of the 171st Mission Support Group, headquartered at the airport base.

Thank you  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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Barack & Joey B. & Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald at 171st Air Refueling Wing

Barack & Joey B.
& Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald at 171st Air Refueling Wing

 

 

Community College of Allegheny County

 

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President Barack Obama tours a classroom with Paul Blackford, instructor of the Mechatronics Program, at Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center

President Barack Obama tours a classroom with Paul Blackford, instructor of the Mechatronics Program, at Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center

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Barack & Joey B. talk with Tyron Baltimore and Melissa Ayers, students at CCAC West Hills Center.

Barack & Joey B. talk with Tyron Baltimore and Melissa Ayers, students at CCAC West Hills Center.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden tour the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center with students in the Mechatronics program

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden tour the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center with students in the Mechatronics program

 

Vice President Joe Biden listens while President Barack Obama delivers a speech Wednesday at CCAC West Hills Center

Vice President Joe Biden listens while President Barack Obama delivers a speech Wednesday at CCAC West Hills Center

Barack & Joey B. visit Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in North Fayette.

Barack & Joey B. visit Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in North Fayette.

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The President and Vice President Speak on Skills Training for Workers

 

Published on Apr 16, 2014

President Obama and Vice President Biden deliver remarks on the importance of jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy. April 16, 2014.

 

 

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The President and Vice President Speak on Skills Training for Workers (Full Transcript)

 

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President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., The visit was to announce $600M in grants as part of the administration’s Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand.

President Barack Obama is introduced by Vice President Joe Biden as he arrives at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa., The visit was to announce $600M in grants as part of the administration’s Opportunity for All program to train the work force for careers in fields with a growing demand.

 

Hello, Allegheny County! (Applause.) Joe and I decided it was time for a guys’ trip. (Laughter.) Actually, Michelle and Jill wanted us out the house. (Laughter.) So we decided to take a little road trip. And we are thrilled to be back here with a lot of good friends and folks who are doing terrific work every single day.

 
We brought with us some people who are doing some important work, trying to make sure that we’re building on the kind of success that we’re seeing here — first of all, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is here. Give Penny a big round of applause. (Applause.) We’ve got a great friend and an outstanding Senator — Bob Casey in the house. (Applause.) Congressman Mike Doyle is here. (Applause.) One of the biggest Steelers fans we’ve got. (Laughter.) We’ve got County Executive Rich Fitzgerald here in the house. (Applause.) Outstanding Mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto is here. (Applause.) And your college president, Quintin Bullock is here. (Applause.)

 

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And of course, all of you are here. (Applause.) Yeah! Yeah! (Laughter.) Now, we’re here because CCAC is an outstanding model of the kind of job-driven training we’re trying to encourage all across the country. And Joe and I just spent some time checking out the machines and motors that are being used here to train folks in mechatronics. Now, I have to say that before I came here I didn’t know there was such a thing as mechatronics. (Laughter.) Sounds like something that Godzilla would be fighting. (Laughter.) It turns out it has to do with engineering, how stuff works. And we saw firsthand everything that you are doing to train more workers for new jobs and better jobs — jobs companies need to keep growing.

 

And what we want to do is we want to replicate your model across the country. You’re doing something right that is making a difference in people’s lives — (applause) — and we want to spread the word. (Applause.) So that’s why we’re here today in Allegheny County, because I’m taking some new action to expand this kind of job-driven training to all 50 states.

 

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And Joe talked a little bit about why we have to do this — because in today’s economy, it’s never been more important to make sure that our folks are trained for the jobs that are there — and for the jobs of the future.

 

Now, we’ve spent the past five and a half years fighting back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. The good news is our economy is growing again, our businesses are creating jobs. We’ve created nearly 9 million jobs over the past four years. We’ve cut our deficits by more than half. Our manufacturing sector that used to be losing jobs, just hemorrhaging jobs, is now adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. (Applause.) The first time since the 1990s. High school dropout rates are going down. College attendance rates and graduation rates are going up. Our troops are coming home. (Applause.) We’re seeing an energy boom all across the country. And more than 7.5 million people have been able to sign up for health care, many for the very first time, through the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.) And 7.5 million people, by the way, is about the number that it would take to fill up Heinz Field 115 times.

 

So there are a lot of good trends that are taking place. And a lot of that has to do with the great work that our outstanding Vice President is doing. (Applause.) It has to do with the great work that folks like Mike and Bob and Rich are doing, and your outstanding Mayor in Pittsburgh and all he’s doing to help transform the economy there.

 

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But here’s the challenge — and a lot of folks here know it. A lot of people don’t feel that progress in their own lives yet. So the stock market is doing great. Corporate profits are soaring. Folks at the very, very top are doing better than ever. But too many Americans, if they’re lucky enough to have a job, are working harder and harder just to get by, much less to get ahead. For too many middle-class Americans, it feels as if the same trends that have been going on for decades are continuing. You’re working hard, but wages flat-line, incomes flat-line, cost of everything else going up.

 

So we’ve got to reverse those trends. We’ve got to make sure that we have an economy that’s not just growing from the top down — because it doesn’t really grow when it’s just from the top down. We’ve got to have an economy where it grows from the middle class out, and from the bottom up, and everybody has a chance. (Applause.)

 

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That’s the idea of America — if you work hard, you can get ahead. That’s the promise at the heart of this country. If you’re responsible, you’re willing to put in some sweat, you can get ahead. You may not be fabulously wealthy, but you can support a family; you can buy a home; make sure your kids are doing good and they can go to college; have something left over for retirement; have health care you can count on; maybe take a vacation once in a while — (laughter) — just the basics and knowing that you’re part of a community that is growing for everybody, not just some.

 

Restoring that idea is the defining issue of our time. And so the truth is — Joe and I, we were talking about this the other day — we sometimes sound like a broken record because we’ve been talking about this for six, seven, eight years, ever since we’ve been in public office. But it’s more urgent than ever now that we move forward. And we know what to do.

 

We’re pushing a four-part opportunity agenda. And the first part is more good jobs paying good wages — manufacturing jobs, construction jobs, jobs in energy, jobs in innovation, jobs in infrastructure, rebuilding our roads and our bridges — putting people back to work. There’s a lot more we could be doing.

 

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Number two, we’ve got to train more Americans with the skills to fill the jobs that are there, just like you do here at CCAC. Number three, we’ve got to guarantee every young American a world-class education. And number four, when people do have a job, we’ve got to make sure that job pays a decent wage and that you have savings you can retire on and health care you can count on. (Applause.)

 

These are the things we’ve got to be doing. You know it; I know it. That’s what would put our unemployment rate down faster. It would pull our wages up faster. It’s what we could do to create more jobs and economic security for a lot of families that have been reaching for it for years. And every single person you send to Washington should be focused on that issue. That’s what America needs right now.

 

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Today, the reason we came here is to focus on that second part of that agenda — training Americans with the skills that they need for the good jobs that are going to be here today and tomorrow.

 

Around here, you know better than most how in recent decades the economy hasn’t always worked for middle-class families. You saw outsourcing. There was a time when finding a good job in manufacturing wasn’t all that hard. If you were willing to work, you could go to the local factory, maybe the factory your dad was working in, and say, I’m ready to go, and they’d sign you up.

 

And over time, the economy changed, part of it because of globalization, some of it because of new technologies. And you’ve seen, sometimes painfully, where technology shutters factories and ships jobs overseas, and even makes some jobs obsolete.

 

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But you know what, we’re not going to reverse all those trends. We can’t stop technology. And you’ve got a global economy now where we’ve got to compete. We live in a 21st century global economy. Jobs know no borders, and companies are able to seek out the best-educated, most highly-skilled workers wherever they live. And that’s where the good jobs and the good pay and the good benefits is going to be.

 

Other countries know this. Countries like Germany, China, India — they’re working every day to out-educate our kids so they can out-compete our businesses. And each year, frankly, it shows that they’re making more progress than we are. We’re still ahead, we’ve still got the best cards, but they’re making some good decisions. We’ve got to make those same decisions.

 

And when it comes to training our workers, not all of today’s good jobs require a four-year college degree, but I promise you, there’s not a job out there that’s going to pay a lot if you don’t have some sort of specialized training. So our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race.

 

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And you see what happens when we put effort into making sure workers have new skills — the education that’s required for this 21st century economy. At a time when traditional manufacturing is back on the rise, Pittsburgh is seeing new factories manufacturing new technologies across the board. And I know you’re County Executive and your Mayor and steel workers –everybody is — we’re focused on bringing jobs back. And the good news is they’re coming back. The problem is we’re having trouble filling some of those jobs.

 

I mean, there’s been great progress in this area. You’ve earned a great nickname — “Roboburgh” — because you’ve got high-tech plants and workplaces that are adding jobs faster than workers can fill them. That’s a good problem to have. But we’ve got a lot of Americans who are still looking for work or underemployed and not getting paid enough. That’s where what you do here is making a difference.

 

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America has got a choice to make. We can do nothing — which is the strategy that some folks in Washington seem to have — or we can do what we’ve always done best: We pull together; we fight back; and we win. (Applause.) That’s what we do best.

 

So earlier this year, I asked Joe to work with Penny Pritzker and Tom Perez, our Labor Secretary, to lead an across-the-board reform of all of our federal training programs to make sure they’ve got one clear mission: Train Americans with the skills employers need. Not something that looks good on paper, but doesn’t give you a job; find out what are the jobs that need to be filled and make sure folks are being trained and matched to those good jobs.

 

We’ve got to move away from what our Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, calls a “train and pray” approach. We train them and we pray that they can get a job. (Laughter.) Because the problem there is students, when they go to a community college, they go to a four-year university, they’re taking out debt. They’re straining their budgets. We got to make sure that it pays off for them. So we need to take a job-driven approach. And that’s what you’ve done here in Allegheny County. That’s what you’re doing here. (Applause.)

 

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So we’re rewarding high schools that redesign their curriculums to help students gain ready-to-work skills even earlier because there’s no reason why you got to wait for college. Our high schools could be providing more relevant education and making kids more job-ready. (Applause.)

 

We are supporting partnerships between employers and local governments and nonprofits to help unemployed workers who’ve been sidelined for too long, help them get the skills that they need, help to connect them to the jobs that require those skills. We’re working with a bipartisan coalition of governors and mayors across the country to make job training partnerships a reality for more Americans.

 

But we could be doing a lot more. And I’ve asked Congress to invest in serious programs that connect ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. (Applause.) And in fairness, Mike Doyle, he’s supportive of that and Bob Casey is supportive of it. But, unfortunately, there are some other folks in Washington that haven’t acted yet. They haven’t been getting the job done so far. And Americans can’t afford to wait.

 

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So today, I’m taking two significant actions that don’t require Congress — (applause) — that don’t require Congress. First, we’ve asked more community colleges to do what you’ve done here at Allegheny, and that is to figure out what skills local employers are looking for, and then partner with them to help design the curriculums and to prepare the students for those jobs. We want a seamless progression from community college programs to industry-recognized credentials and credit towards a college degree.

 

And today I’m announcing that we’re going to award nearly $500 million to those institutions who are doing it best in all 50 states — using existing money to create opportunity for hardworking folks like you. (Applause.) That’s good.

Second — and this is related — we’re launching a $100 million competition for what we’re calling American Apprenticeship Grants. Now, these are awards that are going to expand the kinds of apprenticeships that help young people and experienced workers get on a path towards advancement, towards better jobs, better pay, a trajectory upwards in their careers.

 

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And apprenticeships are a way to link more Americans to jobs in some of our in-demand fields, like IT and health care. They let you earn while you learn. And sometimes it makes — it’s possible for them to also create college credits on the job, even as you’re pursuing a degree or a better job.

 

Right now, nearly nine out of 10 apprentices — folks who are in apprenticeships, they get hired when they’re finished — which makes sense, right? You get an apprenticeship; you’re there, you’re learning on the job. People see that you’re serious about working. So nine out of 10 folks, once they get an apprenticeship, they get hired. And by the way, they make an average of $50,000.

 

So we’re streamlining efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor to help veterans access their GI Bill benefits for apprenticeships. Businesses, unions, community colleges, nonprofits — we’re getting them to work with us as well. The UAW is joining with the Big Three and John Deere and others to add nearly 2,000 apprentices. Some of the biggest manufacturers are partnering with community colleges in North Carolina and Texas and California on high-skill training programs.

 

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And now we want to work with national industry associations to help partnerships like these take root all across the country — so that anybody, in any city, any state, can earn the training they need to get the good jobs of tomorrow. So the bottom line is if you’re willing to put in the work to get a job or earn a promotion in today’s economy, America’s job-training system should give you every possible chance.

 

And you’re doing it here. When we took that tour, we saw young people and some not-so-young people — I won’t say who. I don’t want to offend. (Laughter.) But these are folks who — many of them were in a job right now, but they saw that it was a dead-end and they wanted to make sure that they could get a better job. Some of them were just getting started. But either way, their investment and their effort was being rewarded.

 

One person we met is a gentleman named Tim Wright. He was showing us some of the computer systems that folks are working on. Now, Tim worked as a shift laborer for 13 years, loading rail cars, moving equipment, working nights, working weekends. And he always had his eye on moving into industrial maintenance so he could repair and oversee the factory’s equipment, but he couldn’t pass the skills test. I love this about Tim. He did not give up. He didn’t say, well, I guess I can’t get to my dream. Instead he started on this mechatronics training at CCAC.

 

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So he’d squeeze in classes whenever he could, while he was still working his shifts. And after six months of hard work, he graduated as an industry-certified mechatronics technician. He re-took the test. He passed the test. (Applause.) Today, Tim is doing what he set out to do. (Applause.) So today he’s working on a factory floor, making sure the machines do what they’re supposed to do. He earns more money, he works better hours. He has more time to spend with his family.

 

And I want to read what Tim said here about this. He said, “That extra training made all the difference in the world. Those were the skills I needed to get to the next level.”

 

So I couldn’t be prouder of Tim. Those are the victories — they don’t get a lot of publicity. Tim’s name won’t be in the papers — although now it may be because I just talked about him. (Laughter.) But that’s what America is all about, each of us working to try to move forward. And by each of us moving forward, we all move forward. And then, we reach back and we help other folks.

 

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Companies that are represented here today — like Alle-Kiski and Schroeder and Aerotech — they’re helping. They want to help even more of their workers to take their skills to the next level, whether it’s through a community college partnership like Tim’s, or working with organizations like New Century Careers here in southwestern Pennsylvania. (Applause.) More workers getting apprenticeships. We know it works. And if it worked for folks like Tim and some of the men and women who are standing behind me here today, who took the initiative to upgrade their skills and stay ahead of the jobs curve and prepare themselves for a new job or a better job, then it can work all across the country.

 

We want that for every American. Everybody who works hard and takes responsibility deserves a chance to get ahead. That is what this country is built on. That’s what the moment requires. That’s what Congress should be working on. (Applause.) That’s what Joe is working on. That’s what I’m working on. That’s what you’re working on. And if we keep on working, we’re going to move forward.

 

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Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

 

 

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The White House: Last Call For Health Insurance. It’s The Last Day To Get Covered. Joey B. Visits Rachael Ray.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Last Call for Health Insurance: It’s the Last Day to Get Covered

 

If you don’t have health insurance, today is the last day to get coverage that starts in 2014. Go right now to HealthCare.gov to sign up.

 

There are three ways to sign up:

 

 

Don’t put it off any longer — get covered now!

 

 

Rachel Ray Got Covered

Rachael Ray Got Covered

 

Rachael Ray Tears Up During Joe Biden’s Last-Minute Obamacare Pitch

 

 

Published on Mar 31, 2014

3-31-14 – Vice President Joe Biden took his final pitch on the Affordable Care Act to Rachael Ray’s syndicated program Monday and found an emotional, effective pitchwoman in the daytime talk show host. Ray began to tear up as she described to Biden and her audience how her family used Healthcare.gov to help her brother find a new insurance plan after he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. “My mom and my sister went on the site and used it as a resource to find the people in our community and they found the right healthcare for my brother and his child,” Ray explained. “It is such an important resource for Americans, and I just thank this administration for doing this.”

 

RELATED: Ellen Thanks Obama for Obamacare: ‘Everyone’s Very Grateful You Did This’

 

Biden then used Ray’s story to tout the “peace of mind” Obamacare can bring to people like her brother and millions of other Americans who will no longer be able to be dropped by their insurance companies for having pre-existing conditions. When Ray pointed out that she was “getting teary” because of how “emotional” the issue is for her, Biden commiserated, saying, “No, it’s personal.”

 

“I hope that young people take it seriously enough to get online today and get signed up,” Ray said to her viewers on the final day of the enrollment period. “It’s so important to take advantage of this.”

 

 

 

 

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@FLOTUS No bones about it: Today's the last day to sign up for health insurance. #GetCoveredNow → http://Healthcare.gov ,

@FLOTUS No bones about it: Today’s the last day to sign up for health insurance. #GetCoveredNow → http://Healthcare.gov 

@VinylPopArt Thank you @BarackObama I have Health/Dental for the 1st time since I lived w/ my parents 13yrs ago #Obamacare

@VinylPopArt
Thank you @BarackObama I have Health/Dental for the 1st time since I lived w/ my parents 13yrs ago #Obamacare

@WhiteHouse You've still got time to #BeatTheBuzzer and sign up for health insurance. #GetCoveredNow → http://Healthcare.gov

@WhiteHouse
You’ve still got time to #BeatTheBuzzer and sign up for health insurance. #GetCoveredNow → http://Healthcare.gov

 

 

MARCH 31, 2014
2014 open enrollment ends
If you have not signed up for health insurance by this date, you will need to wait until the next open enrollment period — and will likely have to pay a fine.

 

 

NOVEMBER 15, 2014
2015 open enrollment begins
You can search for and purchase health insurance in the Marketplace for the following year.

 

 

FEBRUARY 15, 2015
2015 open enrollment ends
If you have not signed up for health insurance by this date, you will need to wait until the next open enrollment period, and will likely have to pay a bigger fine than 2014.

 

 

Learn more:

 

 

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How to Get Obamacare (healthcare.gov enrollment instructions)

 

Published on Oct 12, 2013

How to Get Obamacare is a Free Guide to Enrolling on Healthcare.gov Health Insurance Marketplace Exchange. Learn How to Save money with Gov Subsidy, and avoid the penalty. Brought to you by Insureacare http://www.insureacare.com/Affordable…

 

 

 

 

 

Valerie Jarrett to Hollywood to Get Obamacare in Movie, TV Scripts

 

 

 

 

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The White House Weekend™: Barack Heads Home. The Weekly Address With Joey B. & Cecilia Muñoz.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Barack waves during his departure on Air Force One at King Khalid International airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday morning, March 29th, 2014.

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Weekly Address: Raise The Minimum Wage – It’s The Right Thing To Do For Hardworking Americans

 

 

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In this week’s address, Vice President Biden discusses the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it would help close the gender pay gap, as women make up more than half of the workers who stand to benefit from a raise. And as the Vice President highlights, Congress should boost the federal minimum wage because it is what a majority of the American people want.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Address: Raise The Minimum Wage – It’s The Right Thing To Do For Hardworking Americans

 

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, Vice President Biden discusses the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it would help close the gender pay gap, as women make up more than half of the workers who stand to benefit from a raise. And as the Vice President highlights, Congress should boost the federal minimum wage because it is what a majority of the American people want.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
Weekly Address
The White House
March 29, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Joe Biden. I’m filling in for President Obama, who is abroad.

I want to talk to you today about the minimum wage and the overwhelming need to raise the minimum wage. There’s no reason in the world why an American working 40 hours a week has to live in poverty. But right now a worker earning the federal minimum wage makes about $14,500 a year.  And you all know that’s incredibly hard for an individual to live on, let alone raise a family on.

But if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that same worker will be making $20,200 a year—and with existing tax credits would earn enough to bring that family or a family of four out of poverty. But there’s a lot of good reasons why raising the minimum wage makes sense.

Not only would it put more hard-earned money into the pockets of 28 million Americans, moving millions of them out of poverty, it’s also good for business. And let me tell you why.

There’s clear data that shows fair wages generate loyalty of workers to their employers, which has the benefit of increasing productivity and leading to less turn over. It’s really good for the economy as a whole because raising the minimum wage would generate an additional $19 billion in additional income for people who need it the most.

The big difference between giving a raise in the minimum wage instead of a tax break to the very wealthy is the minimum wage worker will go out and spend every penny of it because they’re living on the edge. They’ll spend it in the local economy.  They need it to pay their electric bill, put gas in their automobile, to buy fundamental necessities. And this generates economic growth in their communities.

And I’m not the only one who recognizes these benefits.  Companies big and small recognize it as well. I was recently in Atlanta, Georgia, and met the owner of a small advertising company, a guy named Darien. He independently raised the wages of his workers to $10.10 an hour.  But large companies, as well, Costco and the Gap—they’re choosing to pay their employees higher starting wages.

A growing list of governors are also raising wages in their states – the minimum wage. They join the President who raised the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors like the folks serving our troops meals on our bases.  They’re all doing this for a simple reason. Raising the minimum wage will help hardworking people rise out of poverty.

It’s good for business. It’s helpful to the overall economy. And there’s one more important benefit. Right now women make up more than half of the workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage.  Folks, a low minimum wage is one of the reasons why women in America make only 77 cents on a dollar that every man makes. But by raising the minimum wage, we can close that gap by 5 percent. And it matters. It matters to a lot of hardworking families, particularly moms raising families on the minimum wage.

And one more thing, folks—it’s what the American people want to do. Three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage. They know this is the right and fair thing to do, and the good thing to do for the economy.  So it’s time for Congress to get behind the minimum wage bill offered by Tom Harkin of Iowa and Congressman George Miller of California—the proposal that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

So ask your representatives who oppose raising the federal minimum wage—why do they oppose it? How can we look at the men and women providing basic services to us all, like cleaning our offices, caring for our children, serving in our restaurants and so many other areas—how can we say they don’t deserve enough pay to take them out of poverty?

The President and I think they deserve it. And we think a lot of you do too. So, folks, it’s time to act. It’s time to give America a raise.

Thanks for listening and have a great weekend. God bless you all and may God protect our troops.

 

 

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VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: Es Tiempo de Aumentar el Salario Mínimo

March 29, 2014 | 4:03 |Public Domain

 

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora del Consejo de Política Doméstica de la Casa Blanca, Cecilia Muñoz habla sobre la necesidad de que el Congreso actúe para aumentar el salario mínimo. También, damos la bienvenida a la confirmación del Senado de María Contreras–Sweet para liderar la Administración de las Pequeñas Empresas. María será una ferviente campeona para las pequeñas empresas y ayudará a aumentar el crecimiento económico y ampliar las oportunidades para todos.

 

 

 

 

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President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Spain to attend the State Funeral for former President Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez

 

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Spain to attend the State Funeral for former President Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez, on March 31, 2014.

 

The Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the United States Navy, will lead the delegation.

 

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

 

The Honorable James Costos, United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra

 

The Honorable Bob Graham, former United States Senator from Florida

 

 

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West Wing Week 03/28/14 or, “The 2014 European Edition”

March 28, 2014 | 3:22

 

Welcome to a special, travel edition of the West Wing Week. The President spent this whirlwind week working in Europe, where he attended the third, biennial Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, traveled to Brussels for an EU-US Summit, and then on to Rome, where he met with His High Holiness Pope Francis.

 

 

 

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President Obama hits Chicago Wednesday for DNC fundraisers

 

President Barack Obama hits Chicago on Wednesday for two jumbo priced fundraisers to benefit the Democratic National Committee.

 

Obama hosts a roundtable—I am told keyed towards business executives—at the Chicago Cut Steakhouse downtown where about 25 folks are expected; the tab is up to $32,400. The Obama roundtable is hosted by Mesirow Financial Chairman and CEO Richard Price.

 

Later, Obama is the headliner at a dinner for about 55—donating up to $10,000–at the Lincoln Park  home of Craig Freedman and Grace Tsao-Wu, who is an Obama major donor and fund-raiser.

 

“It will be a great opportunity to get a photo with the President and hear him speak in an intimate setting,” a note with the invite for the Lincoln Park event said.

 

 

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Maria-Contreras-Sweet Is Confirmed.

Maria-Contreras-Sweet Is Confirmed.

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Don't forget Richard Bae

Don’t forget Richard Bae

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Image: Supreme Court Upholds Obama's Affordable Care Act

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VPOTUSA Joseph Robinette “Joey B” Biden, Jr.: Standing Up For LGBTQA1 Rights Around The Globe.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Standing Up for LGBT Rights Around the World

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden gives the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles, Calif., March 22, 2014.Vice President Joe Biden gives the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles, Calif., March 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

 

“The rights of LGBT people [are] an inseparable part of America’s promotion of human rights around the world,” Vice President Joe Biden declared to a packed audience at the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles gala on Saturday night.

 

In a world where homosexuality is a crime in almost 80 countries — punishable by death in 7 — the Vice President reasserted America’s unwavering commitment to LGBT rights in every corner of the world. “Hate,” he explained, “can never, never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm.”

 

The Administration has taken a number of steps to ensure that LGBT citizens of the world are afforded their universal human rights. American diplomats serving overseas — including 5 openly gay ambassadors — have integrated LGBT rights into our foreign policy priorities as we work to promote and protect the human rights of all people. We leverage foreign assistance to protect LGBT rights through such efforts as the Global Equality Fund and the LGBT Global Development Partnership. The United States also offers emergency support to LGBT people in danger, including refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution. And we’re building a broad coalition to promote the rights of LGBT people by working with countries like Argentina, Brazil, France, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Mexico.

 

“We have a long road to travel to change hearts and minds and laws all around the world,” the Vice President said on Saturday, “but we’re beginning to do it.”

 

In communities across the globe, the United States has been encouraged by acts of justice and equality: in places like Albania, which recently added protections against hate crimes for sexual orientation and gender identity; Nepal, which is taking steps to recognize transgender citizens; and Mongolia, which celebrated its first pride week last year.

 

The Administration will continue its work in eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging LGBT communities at home and across the world.

 

As the Vice President said, “We’re in the early days of a long, long fight, but you should never underestimate the epiphanies that follow a culture that makes a breakthrough of conscience.”

 

 

 

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Remarks by the Vice President and Dr. Biden to the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner

 

J.W. Marriott Los Angeles LA Live
Los Angeles, California

7:41 P.M. PDT

DR. BIDEN:  Thank you, Chad, for that kind introduction.  Joe and I are so proud to be with you tonight, and you are doing a phenomenal job leading HRC.  (Applause.)

Hello, Los Angeles, my name is Jill Biden.  (Applause.)  I am with you tonight as an educator who knows the kind of bullying and harassment that some of my students face in the classroom, and the rejection they encounter at home.

I am with you tonight as a military mom and someone who cares deeply for our service members and their families –(applause) — who saw the burden that “don’t ask, don’t tell” and DOMA placed on so many of our military families who serve this nation with just as much courage and patriotism and sacrifices as any other military family.  (Applause.)

And I am with you tonight as a mother and a grandmother — in fact, our granddaughter Finnegan is with us.  I, like you, want my children and grandchildren to grow up in an America where no matter who you are or whom you love, you are treated with dignity and respect — (applause) — an America where your rights can’t disappear from one state to the next, so that gay parents from California have the same rights when they take their kids to visit grandparents on Arizona.  That’s the kind of country we want to live in.  And for God’s sake, an America where the Vice President of the United States can speak up for basic human rights and equality and it’s not breaking news.  (Applause.)

I am so proud of Joe and his commitment.  Tonight, we celebrate the work that you do to change hearts and minds and open up opportunities for every American from our classrooms, to our boardrooms, to our locker rooms.  And I’m with you tonight and always ready to finish the important work that remains.  I am here with another ally and champion for equality, a man whose life purpose stems from a profound commitment to civil rights, a man who always speaks from the heart.  Please join me in welcoming my husband, our Vice President, Joe Biden.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, Jill.  (Applause.)  Thank you, so please, please sit down.  I know it shocks you to hear that I sometimes speak my mind.  (Laughter.)  As a matter of fact, someone said not long ago no one ever doubts what Biden says, the problem is sometimes he says all that he thinks.  (Laughter.)

And I assure you it was no surprise in the Biden household when I spoke out on “Meet the Press.”

But, folks, before I begin I’d like to introduce you to my best friend in the world, my sister, Valerie, and her son, who is an attorney out here in Los Angeles, and my granddaughter.  Our granddaughter has come along with us, and the reason she’s with us is that I want her to understand, which she is now only beginning to understand, that what she thinks and all her generation thinks is starting to be thought by older folks, too.  (Laughter and applause.)

And so, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my sister, Valerie Biden, her son Cuffe — actually it’s not Biden.  She’s married.  Valerie Owens, her son Cuffe, and my granddaughter.  Oh, there they are.  (Applause.)

It’s easy to think the way we do when everyone who you know and respect thinks the same way.  Chad, thank you for your generosity and your kind comments.  And, Attorney General Harris, you have always been there.  It’s never been a question for you.

And Congressman — Mark?  Is Mark here?  I know he’s out there somewhere.  I believe he is.  Congressman, thank you for your great support.  And, Mr. Mayor, thank you for the passport to come back into the city.  (Applause.)  And, Ambassador David Heebner, I want to thank you as well.

Chad, I want to thank you as well for the kind words about Jill’s advocacy.  Folks, if you had known how Jill felt about standing before and speaking before large crowds seven years ago, you would marvel that she stood up here.  (Applause.)  But she’s taking it in stride.  Jill has always been — had a true north, a moral compass that no one has ever questioned, and she raised our three children and our five grandchildren — she hasn’t raised them, but she has impacted them so that they really feel it in their bones that it’s all about fairness and equity, and never to settle for anything less.

It’s overused, but Harvey Milk said, “Hope will never be silent.”  And you have never, never been silent, nor have you ever lost hope — even in some very, very difficult times.  It’s been a long struggle, and recently there’s been some real progress, but there’s so much left to do.

All of you spoke out and stepped up and came forward.  You came out and you marched.  You demanded to be recognized, demanded your constitutional rights, demanded a basic American Dream.  You demanded respect.

And because of what all of you have done, my granddaughter is going to grow up in a better country, a more just country, and a more fair country.  (Applause.)

And, folks, I know — I know not like you — but I know it wasn’t easy.  Many of you paid a personal and a professional price for stepping up and speaking out.  But your tenacity, your integrity and, yes, your physical courage and your pride bent the moral arc of this nation, and it’s finally moving in the right direction.

My mother used to have an expression, and I’m serious about this, she said, Joey, bravery resides in every heart, and the time will come when it will be summoned.

Every one of you in this room stepped up.  Every one of you stepped up.  I’m astonished by the bravery that resides in the heart of each and every one of you in this room.  I’ve been going around the country for a long time, and campaigns and doing my business as Vice President, and I constantly am thanked and given a great deal more credit than I deserve.  My main purpose in being here tonight is to say thank you.  Thank all of you.  Your actions not only liberated millions, millions in the LGBT community, but here’s the point I don’t think you fully understand, you liberated tens of millions of straight guys and straight women.  (Laughter and applause.)  No, no, you have.  You have.  (Applause.)

Those of you who are old enough — those of you who are old enough, 20 years ago, if four guys were sitting in a restaurant and there was a gay waiter and as he left the table, one of them made fun of it, the other three would remain silent.  Not today.  You freed them.  (Applause.)  You freed them to speak up because now they know — they know they’re not the exception, they know they’re the majority.  They know because of you.

And with regard to my being on “Meet the Press,” besides I told the President when he asked me to be Vice President two things:  I wasn’t going to wear any funny hats and I wasn’t changing my brand.  ((Laughter and applause.)  There was no way.  I’m too old, man.  I’m too old.  Seriously, seriously, just how could you remain silent any more.

I have had — and I continue to have faith in the American people.  I believed five years ago, I believe today that they’re so far ahead of the political leadership.  And when I spoke out, the great surprise, all of a sudden the polling data started rolling in and a majority — an absolute majority of the American people agreed with what I said.  But it wasn’t because of what I said, it’s because of all the sacrifices all of you made.

It’s been the honor of my lifetime to work alongside of so many of you, and particularly to see what we’ve achieved in the last five years.  Together, as this has been mentioned already, we passed the Matthew Shephard Hate Crimes Prevention Act; repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell;” reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act with protections for services for the LGBT community; passed the Affordable Care Act so no one can be denied health care because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.  (Applause.)

We argued the case along Edie Windsor in the high court of the land because we knew it was unconstitutional, simply wrong for the federal government to discriminate.  We filed a brief on Prop 8 because we believed the loving relationships you see in this room, and California, and my home state of Delaware, all around the nation cannot, should not be denied the freedom to marry.  It’s basic.  And we rejoiced — we rejoiced as we saw that iconic picture of Kris and Sandra and Paul and Jeff joining hands in victory on the steps of the Supreme Court.  (Applause.)

But, folks, it’s a lot of progress in a relatively short time after this fight has begun, but guess what, there’s so much more to be done.  My grandkids, my children, and their kids are going to be shocked — it shocks the conscience that at this very moment in American history, in some states, an employer can fire you just because of who you are or who you love.  It’s close to barbaric.  I mean think about this — no, I really mean this, imagine, imagine 20 years from now, as America looks back, and says, how in the hell could that have ever been allowed?  (Applause.)  The country has moved on.  The American people have moved on.  It’s time for their Congress to move on and pass ENDA, pass ENDA now — not tomorrow, now.  (Applause.)

If you think about it, it’s outrageous we’re even debating this sucker.  I really mean it.  It’s almost beyond belief that today in 2014, I could say to you, because you’re employee in so many states, you’re fired because of who you love?  I mean think about that.  It is bizarre.  No, no, no, it really is.  It really is.  I don’t even think most Americans even know that employers can do that.

And so, folks, look, I was raised by a truly gracious and decent man.  He taught me and my sister and my two brothers that — a simple truth, that every single person in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.  And he taught us by his example, not by his lectures.

I can remember I was a junior in high school, and he was driving me into the city.  I lived in the suburbs, the city in Wilmington to apply for a job as a lifeguard in the city swimming pools.  And — I was a pretty good lifeguard.  (Laughter.)   Matter of fact, when I ran for the United States Senate, they said, all Biden has ever been is a lifeguard.  (Laughter.)  I was 29.  But any rate, it was close to true.  (Laughter.)

But I’ll never forget it, he pulled up in front of the city courthouse where we went and made the application.  And he didn’t want to park, he was dropping me off.  And we stopped at a red light.  When I looked over to my left, and there were two men kissing good-bye, and I looked, and it was the first time I’d seen that.  And my father looked at me and said, they love each other.  That’s the end.  That’s the end.  (Applause.)

But my point is because of you so many Americans have been freed.  Dignity and respect has to remain our North Star.  But as far as we still need to go, the rest of the world has so much further to go.

As you probably know I spend an awful lot of time traveling in foreign countries.  I’ve had the privilege of literally meeting every major head of state in the last 40 years because of the nature of my job in the Senate.  And I’ve traveled to most countries in the world, and I can tell you, they’re looking to us as an example, as a champion of LGBT rights everywhere.  In almost 80 countries today, it’s a crime.  More than half — almost more than half the countries in the U.N., it’s a crime to be gay.  It’s a crime.  In seven countries, it’s punishable by death.  And in many more places, LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment in the courts, mistreatment by the police, denial of health care, social isolation, always in the name of culture.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the world God willing is beginning to change.  To paraphrase Pope Francis of all things, (laughter) — but think about this, think about what he said, one sentence he uttered, to paraphrase him, who are we to judge?  Who are they to judge you or me?  (Applause.)

In Nigeria, even supporting LGBT organizations can land you in prison for a decade.  Closer to home, in Jamaica, we hear corrective rape for lesbian women.  The world was outraged when we found out about genital mutilation that takes place in some African countries.  Corrective rape?  What in God’s name are we talking about?  How can a country that speaks in those terms be remotely considered to be a civil society?  (Applause.)

In June, the Russian government banned the dissemination of so-called propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to young people.  And by the way, as the great Soviet dissident, Andrei Sakharov said, “A country that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not respect the rights of its neighbors.”  And we’re seeing that today.  We’re seeing that today in Ukraine.  (Applause.)

Find me a country in the world that singles out a set of citizens, and I’ll guarantee you that country is where justice does not live.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week I met with a remarkable group of activists in the so-called Roosevelt Room in the West Wing, from all around the world, about eight of them.  They had one thing in common:  courage.  Many of them were taking incredible physical and personal risks in order to fight for the basic human rights, the rights of others.  One activist from India, a woman named Geethaw spoke of the importance of “street-to-street” connections between local LGBT organizations in different countries.

Another young woman, working in Uganda, Wanja — Uganda, a nation where you can go to prison for life for so-called aggravated homosexuality whatever the hell that is.  (Laughter.)  Aggravated homosexuality?  Whoa.  There are some sick people in the world.  (Laughter and applause.)

But here’s what she said, she said, the LGBT community has been chosen in her country as pawns in the question of, where do we look West, or do we look East?  And she went on to say it shouldn’t be either East or West, it’s a basic human right.  (Applause.)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, let’s think about it in basic terms.  And I know you know it, but sometimes even you forget it, the single most basic of all human rights is the right to decide who you love.  It’s the single basic building block.  It is.  It’s the single most important human right that exists.

And hate can never, never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm.  I’ve had it up to here with cultural norms.  (Applause.)  I really mean that.  A cultural norm, if it’s sick, it’s sick.  It’s simple.  There’s never a justification for a government or an individual politician to play up the bigotry and hatred.

A friend of mine who I’ve gotten to know years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke out against what he called “a wave of hate” sweeping across his beloved continent against LGBT people.  He said, “Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate are fanning it.  They must not be tempted by the easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding.”

And we have a simple obligation:  when it occurs, where it occurs, as individuals and as a government, we must speak up, speak out and do everything we can to confront it.

America’s strength, and I know you’re tired of hearing me say this the last six years, but America’s strength — I really mean this — does not lie in the exercise of its power.  It does not lie there.  It exercises — it lies in the exercise of its values.  In every aspect of American foreign policy, we should have as the focus in our foreign policy that we lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.  That’s what makes us different.  That’s what makes us strong.  I really mean that.  (Applause.)

Look, I don’t want this just to be a rah-rah speech here.  I mean what I say, it’s clear we have a long road to travel to change hearts and minds and laws all around the world.  But we’re beginning to do it.  We’re beginning to do it.

I want to talk to you about what the President and I are doing to help us get there.  Barack and I believe that the rights of LGBT people is an inseparable part of America’s promotion of human rights around the world.  No, no, no, it really — it cannot, is not distinguishable.  It’s a false distinction made in the past.  The first and most important thing this administration has done is to use the bully pulpit of the most powerful nation on Earth to stand up in defense of LGBT rights around the world.  It means speaking up against the criminalization of LBGT status or conduct, as President Obama has ordered all agencies working overseas to do.

It means our annual State Department report on human rights now speaks out by name — naming countries that mistreat LGBT people.  It is consequential.

It means providing training and tools to our diplomats around the world so that they can integrate LGBT rights into how we do American foreign policy in the 21st century.  And by the way, five of these missions are now run by openly gay ambassadors.  (Applause.)

The second thing we’re doing and are going to continue to do is use foreign assistance to protect LGBT rights.  We’ve set up and contributed to a global equity fund which is working in over 50 countries to support unbelievably brave LGBT activists working on the ground, around the world often in unimaginably difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Thirdly, we offer emergency support to LGBT people in danger, including refugee status and asylum-seekers fleeing persecution.

Fourth, we’re building as broad a coalition, as broad as we can.  We’re working with partners like Albania, which just added protections against hate crimes for sexual orientation and gender identity — Albania.  Nepal — Nepal, which is taking steps to recognize transgender citizens; Mongolia, which just held its first pride week last September.  (Applause.)  And Russia calls these countries backward?

We’re working with countries like Argentina, Brazil, France, Norway, Sweden and Mexico, as well on UN Human Rights Council, the World Bank, regional bodies like the Organization of American States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

We’re working with businesses who can vote with their capital for those economies that respect the rights of LGBT employees.  We’re supporting organizations such as the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, which is working with grassroots advocates — (applause) — you all are working with grass-roots advocates all across China to help them start their own community organizations.

And we’re excited to work with you -— the Human Rights Campaign -— through your new Global Engagement Program, to which you take the same passion and remarkable courage you’ve brought to fighting for LGBT rights in this country to help people around the world.

And, folks, we’re in the early days of a long, long fight.  But you should never underestimate the epiphanies that follow a culture that makes a breakthrough of conscience.  And that’s what you helped start here.

As we used to say in the Senate, I’d like to make in closing a point of personal privilege.  I want to thank Chad for being the person he is.  (Applause.)  Now, let me explain what I mean by that.  You all know him.  He’s a good man.  But let me explain what I mean.  It was April of 2012.  I was campaigning for Democratic candidates around the country, and I was here in Los Angeles with leaders of the LGBT community of Southern California at the home of Michael Lombardo and Sonny Ward, and a young man, who was standing against the wall in the living room as I was answering questions, that young man was Chad.  And Chad asked me one of the most sincere and plaintive questions I’ve ever been asked in my political career, particularly on this issue.  He looked at me and just asked a simple question.  He said, Mr. Vice President, what do you think of me?  A simple, straightforward question:  What do you think — I’d never meet him before.  What he was saying was, what do you think of me, I am a homosexual.  What do you think of me?

No one ever asked me that question before, and it made me sad to think that anyone — any of you in this audience, any of my acquaintances, my friends, my employees who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender have to go through any part of your life looking at people who don’t know you and wondering, what do they think of me.  What do you think of me?  What a profound question.

And all I could think of was, if all Americans understood that there are people with different sexual orientations in every walk of life, every sector of America, every nook and cranny of this country, and that you are no different.  You are us.  We are one.  And all I could think to say to Chad — it was spontaneous was — I wish every American could have been in the kitchen.  They always take me in through kitchens.  (Laughter.)  You think I’m kidding, I’m not.

I walked into Michael and Sonny’s home through the kitchen.  They were standing there, and their two beautiful, young children — five and seven — were standing between their parents.  And the first thing I did, the little girl put her arms out — actually the little boy did first, so I bent down, crouched and gave them a big hug.  And we talked a little bit before I even said hi to Sonny who was standing at my right.  And after a few minutes, the little girl turned to her father and said, Daddy, is it okay if the Vice President comes out in the backyard and plays with me and you speak?  (Laughter.)  I swear to God.  By the way, I like kids better than people.  (Laughter.)

And all I could think of was, I mean this sincerely, folks, if every American could have just been there and seen the love these kids had for their parents, just seen how normal it all was in the perverted notion some people have, they wouldn’t have any doubt about what the right policy is, what the right thing to do.  And it reinforced in me the certitude that the only way to prevail is to continue to step up and speak out because we are all one.  People fear that which they do not know.  And you all continue to do that.

That’s why things are changing.  Not because of Barack Obama or Joe Biden, but because of you.  It’s powerful.  It’s powerful.

So I mean what I said at the front end, thank you for not only liberating people who have been persecuted and pummeled, but thank you for getting us in the way of liberating all of America.  It’s a fight we will win.  I don’t have a single, solitary doubt in my mind.  I am absolutely confident my grandchildren’s generation has already moved and will continue to move far beyond the prejudice of the past and of today.  That’s why I’m so confident that the future is only going to get better.

Just as some of you heard me say through the campaign, I will fight to ensure that my four granddaughters have every single, solitary opportunity I mean without exception that my grandsons have, and as long as I have a breath in me, I will not be satisfied till everyone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community is afforded the dignity, the freedom and the equality that my father spoke so clearly of because that’s the only way.  Only when you do that will we be a whole nation.  Only when you do that will we be a whole nation.  (Applause.)

God bless you all, God bless your families, and my God protect our troops.  (Applause.)  Thank you for what you do.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                      END

8:14 P.M. PDT

 

 

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