By Jueseppi B.
Geeks have had a lasting positive impact on the lives of millions of people in the developing world—from the innovations and insights that fueled the Green Revolution, to the historic scientific achievements that have marked the “Beginning of the End of AIDS.” Today, geeks are playing a central role in building technologies, making discoveries, building businesses, and engineering solutions that benefit people and communities around the world.
As President Obama and the First Lady travel to Africa next week, the White House will host a “We The Geeks” Google+ Hangout this Thursday, June 27 at 1:00 pm EST to discuss innovation for global good with some of the creative minds making it happen. These individuals are harnessing their science, engineering, and entrepreneurial skills to answer the President’s call to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades. The Hangout will be moderated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation, Tom Kalil. Speakers include:
- Nikhil Jaisinghani and Brian Shaad, Co-founders, Mera Gao Power (MGP);
- Vineet Bewtra, Director of Investments, Omidyar Network;
- Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Counselor, U.S. Agency for International Development; and
- Alix Zwane, Executive Director, Evidence Action.
Hangout participants will hear from leaders within and outside government, who are working together to spur game-changing innovations in global development. USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, for example, is seeding, testing, and scaling the next generation of powerful innovations in development from geeks the world over.
06:38 PM EDT
Have a question for President Obama about student loans? Now’s your chance to ask him.
Text PREZ to 38383, and submit your question. Each day this week, the President will pick one question to answer, and text back with his response. Here’s more about how it works.
President Obama is committed to keeping college within reach for all Americans, which is why he’s already made historic investments in college affordability, including expanding Pell grants and creating a tax credit worth up to $10,000 to help families cover the cost of college.
But, unless Congress acts soon, interest rates on new subsidized student loans are set to go up on July 1. Higher interest rates will leave millions of students who rely on loans to finance their education with higher loan payments as they work to graduate, begin their careers, or buy a house.
President Obama has put forward a plan that would keep interest rates from doubling in July, cut rates on nearly all new student loans, and make sure all students have access to affordable loan repayment options.
05:50 PM EDT
President Obama Speaks at an Immigration Reform Roundtable
June 24, 2013 | 4:28 | Public Domain
President Obama meets with CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs, to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform.
This afternoon, the President met with CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs to discuss the economic benefits of fixing our broken immigration system. The President and business representatives discussed their shared belief that achieving immigration reform holds meaningful economic promise for the United States, creating a fair playing field for employers and workers alike.
“All of these business leaders recognize the degree to which immigration is a contributor to growth, a contributor to expansion, a creator of jobs,” President Obama said, “but they also recognize that the immigration system that we currently have is broken.”
We have a system in which we bring outstanding young people from all across the world to educate them here, and unfortunately, too often, we send them right back so that they can start companies or help to grow companies somewhere else instead of here.
We have a situation in which millions of individuals are in the shadow economy, oftentimes exploited at lower wages, and that hurts those companies that are following the rules, because they end up being at a disadvantage to some of these less scrupulous companies.
And so, all of us I think recognize that now is the time to get comprehensive immigration reform done.
June 24, 2013 | 41:25 | Public Domain
White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.
Statements and Releases
June 24, 2013
Readout of the President’s Meeting with Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs on Economic Impact of Immigration Reform
June 24, 2013
04:14 PM EDT
We are thrilled to welcome 43 incredible Americans as new Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs), here to serve 6- to 12-month intensive “tours of duty” in the US Government, where they will work hand-in-hand with top government innovators to develop solutions that can save lives, save taxpayer money, and help fuel private-sector job creation.
The PIF program was created in 2012 to tackle five inaugural projects—each focused on making a part of the Federal Government work better for the American people. In keeping with the “lean startup” philosophy of the PIF program, the 18 individuals who were selected from around the Nation to take on those challenges produced significant results in a matter of months, not years.
A case in point is RFP-EZ, a new system created by one of the inaugural PIF teams that simplifies how the Federal Government asks for bids on services like building websites. Before RFP-EZ, most such Requests for Proposals contained highly specialized language that only seasoned government contractors understood, and companies seeking to bid on projects were asked to fulfill a myriad of bureaucratic requirements before even being considered. By removing these obstacles, RFP-EZ has opened up the bidding process to hundreds of small businesses offering services at significantly lower prices. RFP-EZ has yielded very promising results and is already saving taxpayer dollars, with prospects for even more savings going forward.
June 24, 2013
12:30 PM EDT
Solar Powered Classroom
Published on Jun 23, 2013
More About the Solar Powered Classroom:http://go.usa.gov/b77H
The students in Aaron Sebens’ fourth grade class are installing solar panels on their classroom roof for a project that goes above and beyond a normal day in school. From researching solar panel installation, to generating funds for the project via Kickstarter, these are students who put their plans into action. Their accomplishments go beyond the classroom and stress the importance of getting people of all ages involved in renewable energy.
A group of fourth graders in Durham, North Carolina, are showing America the way to a clean energy future.
After learning all about solar and other energy sources, Aaron Sebens — a teacher at Central Park School for Children — and his fourth grade class came up with a bold idea: make their classroom solar-powered.
The video above documents the students’ journey from idea to reality — leading up to a celebratory party where Aaron and his students officially “flip-the-switch” on their solar-powered classroom. To fund the project, Aaron’s class launched a crowd-funding campaign that garnered support across America and around the world. The students originally hoped to raise $800 but significantly beat expectations — raising more than $5,000.
Leaders Across the Southwest Say It’s Time to Fix the Broken Immigration System
03:00 PM EDT
Last week, we heard from state and local officials from across theSouth, Northeast, and Midwest United States about why they support immigration reform and how it will help their communities. Today, officials in the Southwest explain why the time is now to fix the broken immigration system.
Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael Hancock
“Federal immigration policies have a direct impact on Denver’s residents and Denver’s economy. We need long-overdue reforms that keep our communities strong, keep families together, ensure an adequate labor force for a growing economy and maintain the safety of all of our residents. I applaud President Obama for moving forward with fortitude and pushing Washington to rise above partisan gridlock and craft reasonable, sensible changes.”
Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith
“I thank the President for starting the formal consideration of immigration reform by laying out his vision and principles. This is an important economic and social issue that has languished unresolved for too long. Now is the time for Washington to come together and take action.”
Santa Fe, New Mexico Mayor David Coss
“Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is both a practical and a human necessity. In Santa Fe, New Mexico hard-working immigrant families make important contributions to our community every day. They are business owners, workers, students, artists, musicians, parents, police officers and members of our Armed Services. I want all immigrant family members in Santa Fe and across our country to have their basic rights and be able to become full participants in our communities. They need a legal path to citizenship. It will make my town and our country stronger.”
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Mayor Mick Cornett
“I would like to see a bipartisan solution that results in immigration policies that can be enforced and respected by those on both sides of our borders. We appreciate the cooperative work being done in that regard by President Obama and the Senate.”
Salt Lake City, Utah Mayor Ralph Becker
“In Salt Lake City, we laud and support the effort to construct and enact comprehensive federal immigration reform. We hope a fundamental re-working will recognize the important role our immigrant population plays in our economy, work to keep families unified, establish an earned but attainable path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and keep our borders secure. In Salt Lake City, as in cities and towns across the nation, our immigrant population is an integrated part of our community –finding a humane approach to this reality will say much about our commitment as a nation to a free, civil and tolerant society.”
Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall
“Like many Nevadans, I’m the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. When my grandfather came to the US, he came with nothing. My great grandmother sewed Levi jeans; and he cleaned fireplaces after school. They wanted a better life and they were willing to work hard to get it. Eventually they were able to work their way into the middle class. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, but I could never have achieved my dreams if they hadn’t been able to reach for theirs. This is what America is all about – hard work, opportunity, fairness and security for every family. I support common sense immigration reform that is tough, fair and practical; reform that provides a path for citizenship, broadens our tax base, and ensures the safety and security of all our residents. Inaction is not an option. We must keep the vision and values of America alive and well.”
San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro
“I’m the Mayor of San Antonio, and at the local level, we see every day what happens when people put aside their ideology and partisan labels and actually get things done. And what we have here is the opportunity for Democrats and Republicans — people on both sides of the aisle — to actually get something done in Washington, D.C. that’s going to boost America’s economy and fix our broken immigration system, and they ought to get it done soon.”
For more information:
- Read more about commonsense immigration reform
- State and Local Officials in the South Speak Up to Fix the Broken Immigration System
- Leaders Across the Midwest Urge Immigration Reform to Strengthen the Economy
- In the Northeast, Leaders Demand an Immigration System that Lives up to Our Heritage
- CBO Report: Immigration Reform Will Shrink the Deficit and Grow the Economy
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