As Obama Presidency Nears Finish, White House Continues to Work for Pay Equity, Announcing New Commitments to Equal Pay Pledge

Lily Ledbetter, for whom the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the end of his presidency in sight, President Obama is working to accomplish as much progress as he could before the Donald Trump Administration comes in promising to undo it all. 

The White House offered this Fact Sheet Announcing New Commitments to the Equal Pay Pledge, a who’s who of the best places for women to work:

The White House launched the Equal Pay Pledge in June at the first-ever United State of Women Summit, encouraging companies from across the American economy to take action to advance equal pay. Today we are announcing new signatories to the White House Equal Pay Pledge and highlighting the critical role that businesses can play in reducing the national gender pay gap.

These 44 newly-committed employers bring the total number to more than one hundred companies and organizations that collectively employ millions of Americans. The new commitments are from a diverse range of employers, including AT&T, eBay, The Estée Lauder Companies, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mastercard, Yahoo, Square and Zillow Group.

Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law as his first piece of legislation. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses to attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy.

Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and more women than ever are the breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Yet in 2015, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States earned only 80 percent of what the typical man earned working full-time all year. The pay gap is even greater for African American and Latina women, with African American women earning 63 cents and Latina women earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man. The gender wage gap continues to be a very real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.

EMPLOYERS FOR PAY EQUITY BUSINESS CONSORTIUM

This year on Women’s Equality Day, a group of White House Equal Pay Pledge employers formed an independent business consortium, Employers for Pay Equity—to help private industry players share best practices and develop better hiring, promotion, and pay policies. Today, Employers for Pay Equity is announcing a partnership with Simmons College to carry the consortium’s work forward. Simmons College will play a leading role in hosting the consortium to establish pay equity as a best business practice and a means to grow a more equitable workforce for all Americans.

These private sector companies and organizations share a commitment to equal pay and their pledges build on the Administration’s record of empowering women and girls.

By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, these employers are:

  • Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
  • Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
  • Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
  • Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
  • Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.

We thank all who have joined in this pledge and encourage the business community to continue to implement and uphold pay equity policies. 

*** 

WHITE HOUSE EQUAL PAY PLEDGE 

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the gender pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy. Yet, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States only earns 80 percent of what a typical man working full-time all year earns. While the gap has narrowed slightly over the past few years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all. 

Building on the Administration’s numerous actions to close the national pay gap, the White House challenged businesses to take the Equal Pay Pledge. Several U.S. private sector companies have come together in support of advancing equal pay. 

*** 

We received a very positive response to the pledge and welcome our new signatories, including the employers below. 

These signatories put forth their pledges as follows: 

Equal Pay Pledge 

  • Adobe is proud to join the list of companies committed to equal pay.  Paychecks are important, not only because they cover the needs of employees and their families, but also because they are an important indicator of fair treatment. Gender should have no part in driving pay decisions.

We have already reported our U.S. pay data relative to gender and race, and we will continue to report our pay data annually.  This equal pay commitment is part of a larger diversity and inclusion strategy with three key areas of focus:  building a diverse talent pipeline; broadening our recruiting efforts to ensure a diverse candidate pool; and helping all employees grow once they are part of Adobe.

Investing to bring out the best in everyone, regardless of gender or background, contributes to the success of the business and the most important asset – our people.

  • Amalgamated Bank is proud to take the White House Equal Pay pledge to keep compensation fair, to practice our own values of fairness, diversity and inclusion, and to never stop looking for ways to do better.  We believe that pay equality isn’t an accomplishment, it’s standard operating procedure.  For nearly 100 years, Amalgamated Bank has been the progressive bank for the progressive community.  We strive to lead by example among financial institutions and ensure equal access to financial services for all people, which also means that our own employees receive equal pay for equal work.  By helping those both inside and outside the bank who do good do better, we believe everyone benefits.
  • AT&T’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been visible and steadfast for nearly half a century. It dates back to the establishment of our Supplier Diversity Program in 1968, and our first Employee Resource Group in 1969.  Today, more than 120,000 employees have active memberships in our Employee Resource Groups and Employee Networks.

Diversity and inclusion is essential to our culture and our success. It fosters big ideas, fresh perspectives and opportunities, and bold leadership.  It plays an essential role in innovation, and it helps us play a more vital role in our communities.  Engaging in practices that support diversity, inclusion, and equality is a basic part of how we do business.

Signing on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge reinforces and validates what we already deliver to our employees:  equal pay for comparable work, experience and performance, regardless of gender, race, religion, or age. We’re proud to continue the practices that have created our fair and equitable workplace.

  • Autodesk today announces that we are signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge. Autodesk looks at inclusion comprehensively—how we attract, retain and develop top talent; how we include the widest range of entrepreneurs and developers using our software in our ecosystem; and how we expand opportunity globally to underrepresented segments of society. Equal pay is at the foundation of inclusion—this means we consider all of our employees, with all of the dimensions of diversity that they bring, whole contributing members of our organization deserving of equal compensation.

We currently conduct an annual review our compensation packages based on gender and ethnicity, but we recognize there is still much more to do and that signing this pledge is a commitment to ongoing self-reflection and analysis as an organization, which is why we do not take this lightly. In addition to a commitment to equal pay, our signature is also a commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive environment where people can contribute fully and achieve personal and professional success.

  • Colgate-US has long been highly committed to the principles of fairness and equity the White House Equal Pay Pledge serves to support and is proud to add its name to the number of organizations taking this pledge.
  • eBay – For more than 20 years, eBay has sought to build a company that supports Connected Commerce – commerce that is enabled by people, supported by technology, and open to everyone.  In accordance with our vision, we believe deeply that we must have a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace to ensure we reflect the perspectives of the tens of millions of customers that we serve globally.  That’s why eBay is proud to join with the White House in pledging to close the gender wage gap.We at eBay are committed to ensuring that we pay our people fairly based on their role, contribution and impact – not on factors unrelated to the work they do.  We have supported strategic initiatives, like our Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and eBay Women in Technology (eWIT), that aim to support gender diversity in our workplace and the ability of women to build lasting, successful careers at our company.  Additionally, in early 2016, we undertook an extensive, global study of gender pay equity that considered the main components of compensation.  We are pleased to report that our study found pay parity between male and female employees.

    Going forward, we are committed to conducting on-going reviews of our compensation practices and, when necessary, we will take appropriate action to make sure that our employees continue to be paid fairly and equitably.  Ongoing commitment to equal pay principles is essential to ensuring we deliver on this pledge, and we will continue to review our practices globally to make sure we are creating the best possible workplace for all of our employees.

  • Edison International, we understand that diversity of thought is fueled by diversity of people engaged in an inclusive and fair work environment. We are committed to ensuring that gender pay equity is a part of the fairness experienced by all of our employees. Therefore, we are pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge.

We are a diverse company that succeeds when our employees are able to bring their best selves to the workplace. The ability to attract, retain, and develop a diverse workforce allows us to leverage our unique experiences, better reflect the communities we serve, and ensure equity and inclusion that benefits both our company and our customers.

As part of our pledge, we commit to continue our annual review of compensation, which is used to understand any potential gaps in pay and to take action when appropriate. In addition, Edison International aims to further increase equal employment opportunities and to break down employment barriers by continually seeking diverse representation in our hiring and promotional opportunities. We continue to analyze and evolve our pay practices and market demands for talent and to foster an inclusive work environment where our employees can fully contribute, find opportunities for advancement, and feel valued.

  • The Estée Lauder Companies is honored to partner with the White House in its effort to promote gender equality in the workplace.

As a Company founded by a pioneering entrepreneur, Mrs. Estée Lauder, we are proud to continue her legacy of empowering women, supporting families, and promoting equality.

Founded on strong family values 70 years ago, we have always believed that our people are our greatest asset. We take pride in maintaining a unique, creative and diverse workforce where everyone’s contributions are fairly rewarded.  We are proud that women constitute 85% of our employees worldwide, with 50% of our senior vice president positions and above in the U.S. held by women.

We understand that equal pay not only affects women but also their families, their communities, and our shared economy. By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, we are underscoring our commitment to ensure that all women and men are compensated fairly in terms of capabilities and experience.

We remain committed to providing a dynamic and supportive workplace for all our employees to foster their growth, success and well-being.

  • Exelon is pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and we are committed to doing all we can to help close the national gender pay gap. Research shows that the typical American working woman makes 79% of what the typical working man makes – this translates to a loss of $500,000 over her lifetime. For Latino and African American women this cumulative loss nearly doubles. Diversity and inclusion is critical to Exelon’s success and our workforce programs must include transparency and fairness. As a result, we are joining other leading companies and conducting an annual audit of compensation, hiring and promotion practices. Through these efforts, Exelon is stating unequivocally that we value every worker, male and female. Advancing pay equity is not simply good business practice, but the right thing to do.
  • The Honest Company is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join the other companies who have taken on this economic and social imperative.  Our mission – to empower people to live a happy & healthy life – is at the heart of our business, and our company culture embodies our name: Honesty, Transparency, Openness. This applies both to how we treat our consumers as well as our employees. Diversity and gender equity are strategic pillars for our organization, and we are committed to ensuring all employees benefit from a workplace that is inclusive and fair. We are proud to stand with the White House and other companies who share these values.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group: Our ambition is to be number one for guests, owners and colleagues. A critical part of this ambition is our commitment to upholding equitable compensation practices regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. That’s why we are pleased to sign the White House pledge.
  • Mastercard: We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential to creating an inclusive environment for our colleagues, helping them to better serve our customers worldwide. At the same time, to ensure that our employees reflect the customers we serve and today, we source talent from numerous industries and backgrounds.

We are committed to this important pledge and will continue to review and enhance our policies and practices to ensure they reflect our values and connecting our employees to “Priceless Possibilities.” Our “Whole You” program is based on the premise of providing benefits to employees at different stages of life both at work and outside of work.

  • MWWPR was founded 30 years ago on progressive ideals that continue to fuel our vision, inspire our progress, and motivate our employees today. Our agency’s ethos of “Matter More” serves as our guiding principle – we strive to not only help our clients matter more to the people who matter most, but to ensure that all our employees feel valued for the contributions they make.

Engaging and retaining our incredible staff is our agency’s highest priority, and demonstrating fairness and inclusion is fundamental to our talent strategy. Our management committee is comprised of a majority of women, many of whom actively mentor junior female colleagues, and we regularly review our hiring and promotion processes to ensure we are evaluating and rewarding all employees equally.

For MWWPR, signing the Equal Pay Pledge is an important next step in demonstrating our commitment to our people, and we are honored to be the first public relations firm to take the pledge. We hope to inspire our colleagues in the industry to make a similar commitment, and are proud to stand with other leaders in the business community as we continue prioritizing equality and transparency across our agency.

  • Nestlé in the US: At Nestlé, we value our employees’ health and wellness, which includes the opportunity to work in an environment where one feels empowered, appreciated and respected.  Enhancing gender balance in our workforce is one of our company’s core societal commitments, globally and in the U.S., which is why each of our operating companies in the US is pleased to reaffirm our commitments by signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge.2016 marks Nestlé’s 150th year in business and we know that in order to be in business for the next 150, we must promote inclusive opportunities that respect the contribution of all of our employees.  Nestlé believes that striving towards equal pay, fair hiring, retention and promotion practices, and investing in leadership and professional development opportunities for women is good for our people, our consumers and our business.  We remain dedicated to enhancing gender balance in our workforce. To that end, we will continue to invest in programs including providing support for dual-career spouses as part of our International Dual Career Network, hosting networking events in conjunction with the Network of Executive Women Leadership Summit, continuing to find opportunities to publicly celebrate the accomplishments of our women executives throughout our businesses and encouraging eligible employees to take advantage of our Parent Support Policy, which offers up to 14 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers with the option of extending unpaid leave up to six months.

    Each Nestlé business in the US will continue to review its hiring practices, assessments, and promotion decisions at the business level on an annual basis and work towards improving our ability to achieve gender balance and foster an equitable environment for all of our employees.

  • New Belgium Brewing is proud to sign on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge. As a 100% employee owned company, we know that when we take care of one another our workplace and our business are healthier. We’re proud to have women and men in every part of our company working side by side, earning wages that reflect our commitment to equal pay, advancement based on merit, and a spirit of community.
  • SoulCycle: Led by a female CEO and founded by two women, SoulCycle’s commitment to supporting and advancing women has always been part of the company’s DNA. The support and respect that we extend to each rider who walks through our 67 studio doors extends to our company-wide culture.  We’re committed to nurturing the health and happiness of all of our team members, and that includes our hiring practices and compensation.  As a company, we understand the importance of supporting and advancing women throughout their careers, and we know that our team thrives when they’re compensated fairly for their contributions.  We’re proud that women make up 86% of our studio leadership.

We applaud the White House for its efforts to eliminate the gender wage gap and promote equal pay.  We pledge to continue taking action individually and collectively as a team to pay equality.

  • Square is proud to sign the Equal Pay Pledge as a natural extension of our existing commitment to pay equity.  Square was built on the principle of inclusion which is reflected not only in the products and services that we provide to our sellers, but also in our internal policies and work environment.  We strive to recruit, retain, promote, and compensate our employees on the basis of their qualifications, performance, and potential.  We also work with our managers and employees in efforts to prevent gender-based bias from entering the workplace.  Most of all, we are committed to continually reviewing our policies and practices to identify and act upon further opportunities for improvement—we will always strive for inclusion, fairness, and equality.
  • Workday – Since day one, we’ve embraced diversity – including different experiences, perspectives, insights, backgrounds, and skills – because it fuels innovation, and creates a broader connection to the world. We believe that all employees deserve equal pay, and an equal chance to succeed. That’s why we’re proud to join the White House in signing the Equal Pay Pledge, as it supports our ongoing commitment to close the gender wage gap.As part of this commitment, we’ve developed reporting capabilities within our product that can uncover and potentially address the gender wage gap. We and many of our customers use these reporting capabilities to evaluate our pay practices to ensure our employees are compensated fairly. Knowledge is power, and we believe that technology can provide the information organizations need to create a more equal and inclusive workplace.
  • Yahoo, with more than one billion unique users across the world each month, has a distinct opportunity to leverage the power of our platforms to advance inclusion and diversity at the company, and across the tech industry. We recognize that building an inclusive and diverse workplace is more than a theoretical goal. It is a mission-critical business imperative that we must address with the same level of urgency and commitment that we apply to other strategic initiatives. And pay equity is a critical and inextricable component of this mission.

We are proud to have been recognized in 2015-2016 for our strides in paving the way for gender equality (Watermark Index Award winner), for being a best place to work for LGBT employees (scoring 100% on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the tenth year in a row), for being a best place to work for parents (named by Elle Magazine and Fatherly.com), and by being named as an employer whose work significantly impacts communication access for people with hearing loss (receiving the National Access Award by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)).

  • Zillow Group is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join other companies who are committed to this effort. Zillow Group evaluates pay equity twice a year, is building out training to be aware of our unconscious biases, and reviews hiring and promotion processes. We are constantly striving to ensure that our compensation and benefits package matches our values of inclusion and equity. In addition to our generous maternity and parental leave policies, Zillow Group offices have designated nursing rooms, fully equipped with hospital grade pumps and fridges. Since 2010, we have offered free overnight breast milk shipping for nursing mothers on business trips. As a company, we invest in our people since they are investing in us. We believe the private sector plays a critical role in reducing the national pay gap and are proud of our internal efforts to provide gold-star benefits and gender pay equity for all our employees.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY THE FOLLOWING BUSINESSES:

  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • AttainIT
  • Avanade Inc.
  • Avila Retail
  • Branding Brand
  • Cava Grill
  • DCode42
  • GBD Architects Incorporated
  • Global Experience Specialists
  • Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc
  • Hired, Inc.
  • Margaux’s Bookkeeping, Inc.
  • Omada Health
  • Periscope Data
  • RizePoint
  • Robinson & Kardonsky, P.C.
  • Spottswoode Winery
  • Stanton Chase International
  • Teslights LLC.
  • Thrive Global
  • Venesco LLC
  • Vmware
  • Vonage
  • WP Engine

BUILDING ON A RECORD OF SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken a number of actions to support working families and combat the pay gap, including:

  • Publishing a final regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. The program provides subsidies to working families and last year provided services for roughly 1.4 million children aged 0-13, most of whom are younger than 5. The rule, which has not been comprehensively revised since 1998, will provide a roadmap to states on how to implement the new law and clarify ambiguities around provisions that deal with eligibility for services; health and safety requirements; and how best to support the needs of parents and providers as they transition to the new law.  It also clarifies that worker organizations can provide professional development to child care workers and contribute to discussions around the rates states set for subsidies.
  • Signing his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pair Act, in January 2009 making it easier for employees to challenge unfair pay practices.
  • Creating the National Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010 to implement his pledge to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which included representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force has issued reports on its progress, including Fighting for Equal Pay in the WorkforceKeeping America’s Women Moving Forward, andFifty Years After the Equal Pay Act.  In addition, since the creation of the Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, the EEOC has received over 18,000 charges of sex-based pay discrimination, and through its independent enforcement efforts, the EEOC has obtained over $140 million in monetary relief for victims of pay discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes in the defenses for equal pay violations, providing stronger remedies, and expanding protections against discrimination for employees who share or inquire about information about their compensation at work.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in May 2013 directing the Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap in the federal workforce, leading to a report in April 2014 and new guidance in July 2015—which cautioned against reliance on a candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as it can potentially adversely affect women who may have taken time off from their careers or propagate gaps due to discriminatory pay practices by previous employers.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in April 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in September 2015 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss or inquire about their compensation.
  • Announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge, with more than 50 leading businesses signing on to take action to advance equal pay.  By signing the pledge, these companies are committing to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion processes, embed equal pay efforts in broader equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices that will close the wage gap.
  • Hosting a White House Summit on Working Families in June 2014, highlighting the issues that women and families face, setting the agenda for a 21st century workplace, and announcing of a number of steps to help working families thrive.
  • Hosting the United State of Women Summit in June 2016, highlighting the progress that has been made over the course of this Administration and discussing public and private sector solutions to the challenges that still lie ahead.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in January 2015 directing federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with new children, calling on Congress to grant another six weeks of paid leave for federal employees, and calling on Congress to pass legislation that gives all American families access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Publishing a final Department of Labor rule in May updating outdated overtime regulations, expanding overtime pay protections to 4.2 million additional Americans, boosting wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years, and allowing workers to better balance their work and family obligations.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in February 2014 requiring federal contractors to raise their minimum wage initially to $10.10 an hour, indexing it, and lifting the tipped minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts women)—and urging Congress, states, cities, and businesses to do the same.
  • Directing the Office of Personnel Management and federal agencies to enhanceworkplace flexibility for federal employees to the maximum extent practicable, including enshrining a right to request flexible work arrangements.
  • Signing into law the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which requires agencies to support and establish policies for telework by eligible employees.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer). The legislation would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave if a reasonable accommodation would allow them to work.
  • Finalizing a Department of Labor rule updating its sex discrimination guidelinesfor federal contractors for the first time since 1978, to align with current law and address barriers to equal opportunity and pay, such as pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
  • Collecting summary employee pay data from certain employers to improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps. Starting March 2018, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will add the summary pay data to the annual Employer Information Report or EEO-1 report that is coordinated by the EEOC and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
  • Announcing the Department of Labor’s award of $54 million in “Strengthening Working Families” grants to help low- to middle-skilled parents access the affordable, quality child care they need to earn an education, participate in training programs, and compete for better-paying jobs in emergency industries.
  • Expanding access for women to higher-paying jobs through a proposed rule updating equal employment opportunity requirements in registered apprenticeships and through a Mega-Construction Projects (MCP) Initiative at the Department of Labor.

White House Announces New Steps to Create Better, Fairer and Fewer Tests in Schools

Outgoing US Congressman Steve Israel with Great Neck (marking its 200th anniversary as a public school district) and Long Island educators, in front of Great Neck South Middle School, appeals for the Department of Education to change its rules regarding over-testing. The White House has just announced new steps to create “better, fairer and fewer tests” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Outgoing US Congressman Steve Israel with Great Neck (marking its 200th anniversary as a public school district) and Long Island educators, in front of Great Neck South Middle School, appeals for the Department of Education to change its rules regarding over-testing. The White House has just announced new steps to create “better, fairer and fewer tests” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Common Core has become one of those boogeymen memes that elicits hysterical knee-jerk reaction against Big Government intrusion into parental authority and local control over schools. However, what is deliberately set aside is that Common Core was developed at the state level. The point of Common Core was to lift standards for public education. Instead, it has been overtaken by the Accountability Movement which uses testing as a weapon against teacher unions and by the Privatized Education Corporatists as a tool to overturn public education in favor of taxpayer funding of for-profit, privatized charter schools and unconstitutional public funding of parochial schools.  The result was over-testing, creating unnecessary stress among public school students (private school students don’t have to take the tests), but a windfall for private testing and tutoring companies. In these waning days of the Obama Administration, which has worked so hard to improve public education for all, the White House has announced new, rational steps to create “better, fairer and fewer tests” in schools. . – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

 FACT SHEET: White House Announces New Steps to Create Better, Fairer and Fewer Tests in Schools

“When I look back on the great teachers who shaped my life, what I remember isn’t the way they prepared me to take a standardized test. What I remember is the way they taught me to believe in myself. To be curious about the world. To take charge of my own learning so that I could reach my full potential. …

I’ve heard from parents who worry that too much testing is keeping their kids from learning some of life’s most important lessons. I’ve heard from teachers who feel so much pressure to teach to a test that it takes the joy out of teaching and learning, both for them and for the students. I want to fix that.”

– President Barack Obama, October 2015

When done well, assessments give parents, teachers, and students critical information on whether all students in a community are progressing each year toward college and career readiness. When used appropriately, they also serve as an essential protection to promote equity.  In too many schools, however, redundant or low-quality assessments are being administered without a clear purpose.  These ineffective assessments can consume valuable class time and can take the joy out of learning.

That is why last October, President Obama announced his Testing Action Plan and asked the U.S. Department of Education to work aggressively with states and school districts to make sure that tests students take are worthwhile; high-quality; time-limited; fair and transparent to students and families; and one of multiple sources used to understand how students, educators and schools are progressing.  Since then, the Obama Administration has acted to assist states and school districts in ensuring that the tests they are giving are better, fairer and fewer.

The White House and the Department of Education, on December 7, brought state and district leaders together with educators, parents, technologists, developers and philanthropic leaders to discuss the impact of the Testing Action Plan and what more can be done to ensure that tests are better, fairer, and fewer. As part of the event, the Department of Education announced additional resources and guidance for states and school districts aligned with the Testing Action Plan, including nearly $8 million in grants to the Maryland State Department of Education and the Nebraska Department of Education to develop new and innovative ways to measure science achievement that can serve as models for other states.

New Federal Resources to Help States and School Districts Improve Testing

The White House and the Department of Education are announcing new efforts designed to help states and school districts improve their assessments and help them evaluate the totality of their assessments in order to eliminate unnecessary or low-quality tests.  Today’s announcements include:

o   The Innovations in Science Map, Assessment, and Report Technologies (I-SMART) Project, led by the Maryland State Department of Education and in partnership with Missouri, New York, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, will produce innovative science assessments aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards to support comprehensive alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  It will contain multiple measures of student progress over time, develop a science learning map that includes multiple pathways for students to learn science content and reach challenging grade-level expectations, and also deliver score reports that improve the information about student performance that is shared with educators and families.

o   The Strengthening Claims-Based Interpretations and Uses of Local and Large-Scale Science Assessments (SCILLSS) project, led by the Nebraska Department of Education in partnership with Montana and Wyoming, aims to improve the quality of statewide science assessments.  The project will leverage existing tools and expertise to generate more resources to strengthen states’ ability to create and evaluate quality science assessments.  The project will also engage state and local educators to clarify the interpretations and uses of assessments scores and to create tools to improve the usefulness of student performance results.

  • Regulations to Create Better, Fairer, and Fewer Assessments under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):  The Department of Education is releasing two final regulations designed to give states and school districts clarity and flexibility as they implement the assessment provisions under Title I of the ESSA.  These regulations seek to clarify the statutory requirement that states administer high-quality, annual assessments to all students by ensuring that these assessments are worth taking and provide meaningful data about student success and equity for all students, while also encouraging states and districts to continue to push the field of assessment forward through innovation.

o   Creating Better, Fairer, and Fewer Tests:  The final regulation for state assessment systems under Title I, Part A — which are the result of consensus reached when the Department of Education conducted negotiated rulemaking with a diverse group of stakeholders earlier this year — willensure states continue to administer tests that are valid, reliable, and fair measures of student achievement for all students, including by setting clear parameters for meaningfully including students with disabilities and English language learners in state tests and supporting them with appropriate test accommodations.  The final regulation also allows states to take advantage of a range of innovative approaches to improve assessment and reduce overall burden, such as implementing computer-adaptive assessments and allowing a district to offer a locally selected, nationally recognized high school tests in place of the annual statewide high school assessment.  Taken together, this regulation will help states and districts implement ESSA to create better, fairer and fewer tests.

o   Producing a New Generation of Innovative Assessments:  The final regulation under Title I, Part B establishes the parameters under which states may take advantage of a new innovative assessment demonstration authority under the ESSA to create, try out, and scale up alternatives to traditional end-of-year large-scale assessments.  This demonstration authority, initially available to up to seven states, allows states to rethink assessment systems and pilot new, innovative approaches to measuring student achievement for use in their accountability systems.  States with demonstration authority will be allowed to phase-in and use a new innovative assessment system in a subset of their districts, while maintaining their existing system in the rest of their districts, and use the results from both systems for accountability and reporting purposes under the law during the pilot phase.  States may also apply for flexibility as a consortium, providing a built-in community of practice to share and work through common challenges as they scale their new innovative assessments statewide.

  • Guidance to States on How to Use Federal Resources to Create Better, Fairer and Fewer Tests:  The Department of Education is also releasing non-regulatory guidance for states and school districts, which highlights flexibility in ESSA for how states and districts can use federal funds to support the President’s Testing Action Plan. The guidance outlines how states and districts can use federal funding under the ESSA to ensure high-quality assessments for all students; reduce testing time; eliminate redundant, duplicative assessment; and provide clear, transparent and actionable information on assessments to students, families, and educators.  This ESSA guidance applies starting in fiscal year 2017 (i.e., the 2017-2018 school year) and updates previous guidance ED released earlier this year.
  • Profiles of Districts that are Taking Action to Improve Assessments:  The Department of Education is releasing profiles highlighting the steps taken by two districts, Eminence Independent Schools (KY) and Vancouver Public Schools (WA), to reduce and improve assessments. Eminence saw dramatic improvements in student achievement after implementing a learner-centric education model that focuses on differentiated instruction, personalized learning, continuous growth, and the use of formative assessments and alternative means to assess student progress.  Vancouver Public Schools conducted an audit of its district-required assessments in 2015 and eliminated 105 administrations of district-required assessments allowing the district to return an average of 900 minutes back into the classroom across grades 3 – 8. These profiles build on a report the Department released in April, highlighting the work of leading states and districts to improve assessment and ensure class time is preserved.
  • Information on Technology-Delivered Assessments Supported by the Institute of Education Sciences:  The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) is releasing ablog that highlights some of the technology-delivered assessments funded through IES.  Since its inception in 2002, three IES programs, including the Research Programs at the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and at the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), and the ED/IES SBIRprogram have made over 200 awards supporting the development of new technology-delivered assessments.  The awards were made to a mix of academic researchers, entrepreneurial firms, and larger education organizations. All of the projects included a rigorous research and development process with studies to validate that assessments are measuring what is intended and pilots to test the promise of the technologies for improving student learning outcomes.  Later this month IES will release a more detailed report highlighting the technology-delivered assessments and innovations in the assessment field funded through three research programs.

For Obama, Counterterrorism Means ‘Right Makes Might – That’s How We’ll Protect Our Constitution Against all Threats, Foreign and Domestic’

President Barack Obama: “We have to fight terrorists in a way that does not create more terrorists.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Barack Obama: “We have to fight terrorists in a way that does not create more terrorists.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This speech by President Barack Obama at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida spelling out his administration’s approach to counterterrorism may well be one for the history books: a kind of place marker to where we were when Donald Trump came to power and overturned everything. People will be pining for the days when the Commander-in-Chief could give a cogent statement describing mission, success, and reaffirming American values and respect for life. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Here is a highlighted transcript:

Good afternoon, everybody.  I was just told that was going to be the last “Hail to the Chief” on the road, and it got me kind of sentimental.  I want to first and foremost say thanks to all of you.  Just before I came here, I was able to visit with some of the men and women from MacDill Air Force Base, Central Command, our Special Operations Command to thank them for their extraordinary service.  And so to you and your families, and to the extended family of American servicemembers, let me say that our nation owes you an unbelievable debt of gratitude.  We are grateful for you, and will be praying for you over the holidays.  (Applause.)

As you know all too well, your mission — and the course of history — was changed after the 9/11 attacks.  By the time I took office, the United States had been at war for seven years.  For eight years that I’ve been in office, there has not been a day when a terrorist organization or some radicalized individual was not plotting to kill Americans.  And on January 20th, I will become the first President of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war.  (Applause.)  Now, we did not choose this fight, but once it came to us, the world saw the measure of our resolve.

The most solemn responsibility for any President is keeping the American people safe.  In carrying out that duty, I have sent men and women into harm’s way.  I’ve visited troops around the globe.  I have met our wounded warriors, and I’ve grieved with Gold Star families.  I know better than most that it is because of your service and your sacrifice that we have been able, during these eight years, to protect our homeland, to strike crippling blows against terrorist networks, and fortify our friends and our allies.  So today, I’d like to reflect on that work, and talk about the foundation that we will leave for the next administration.

I came to this office with a set of core convictions that have guided me as Commander-in-Chief.  I believe that the United States military can achieve any mission; that we are, and must remain, the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.  (Applause.)  I believe that we must never hesitate to act when necessary, including unilaterally when necessary, against any imminent threats to our people.  But I have also insisted that it is unwise and unsustainable to ask our military to build nations on the other side of the world, or resolve their internal conflicts, particularly in places where our forces become a magnet for terrorists and insurgencies.  Instead, it has been my conviction that even as we focus relentlessly on dismantling terrorist networks like al Qaeda and ISIL, we should ask allies to do their share in the fight, and we should strengthen local partners who can provide lasting security.

And these convictions guided the policies we pursued both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When I took office, the United States was focused overwhelmingly on Iraq, where nearly 150,000 American troops had spent years fighting an insurgency and helping to build a democratic government.  Meanwhile, al Qaeda had regrouped in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was actively planning attacks against our homeland.  So we brought nearly 150,000 troops home from Iraq, consistent with the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated by the previous administration, and we surged our efforts along with our allies in Afghanistan, which allowed us to focus on dismantling al Qaeda and give the Afghan government the opportunity to succeed.

And this focus on al Qaeda — the most dangerous threat to the United States at the time — paid dividends.  Today, by any measure, core al Qaeda — the organization that hit us on 9/11 — is a shadow of its former self.  (Applause.)  Plots directed from within Afghanistan and Pakistan have been consistently disrupted.  Its leadership has been decimated.  Dozens of terrorist leaders have been killed.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  (Applause.)  And, importantly, we have built a counterterrorism capability that can sustain this pressure against any terrorist network in South Asia that might threaten the United States of America.  That was because of the work of our outstanding servicemembers.

Moreover, that early decision to strengthen our efforts in Afghanistan allowed us to build the capacity of Afghans to secure and defend their own country.  So today, there are less than 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan.  Instead of being in the lead against the Taliban, Americans are now supporting 320,000 Afghan security forces who are defending their communities and supporting our counterterrorism efforts.

Now, I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture.  The situation in Afghanistan is still tough.  War has been a part of life in Afghanistan for over 30 years, and the United States cannot eliminate the Taliban or end violence in that country.  But what we can do is deny al Qaeda a safe haven, and what we can do is support Afghans who want a better future, which is why we have worked not only with their military, but we’ve backed a unity government in Kabul.  We’ve helped Afghan girls go to school.  We’ve supported investments in health care and electricity and education.  You have made a difference in Afghanistan, and America is safer for it.  (Applause.)

Of course, the terrorist threat was never restricted to South Asia, or to Afghanistan, or Pakistan.  Even as al Qaeda has been decimated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the threat from terrorists metastasized in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.  And most dangerously, we saw the emergence of ISIL, the successor to al Qaeda in Iraq, which fights as both a terrorist network and an insurgency. 

There’s been a debate about ISIL that’s focused on whether a continued U.S. troop presence in Iraq back in 2011 could have stopped the threat of ISIL from growing.  And as a practical matter, this was not an option.  By 2011, Iraqis wanted our military presence to end, and they were unwilling to sign a new Status of Forces Agreement to protect our troops from prosecution if they were trying to defend themselves in Iraq.  

In addition, maintaining American troops in Iraq at the time could not have reversed the forces that contributed to ISIL’s rise — a government in Baghdad that pursued a sectarian agenda, a brutal dictator in Syria who lost control of large parts of the country, social media that reached a global pool of recruits, and a hollowing out of Iraq’s security forces, which were ultimately overrun in Mosul in 2014.  In fact, American troops, had they stayed there, would have lacked legal protections and faced a choice between remaining on bases or being drawn back into a sectarian conflict against the will of Iraq’s elected government or Iraq’s local populations.

But circumstances changed.  When ISIL made substantial gains first in Mosul and then in other parts of the country, then suddenly Iraqis reached out once again for help.  And in shaping our response, we refused to repeat some of the mistakes of the 2003 invasion that have helped to give rise to the organization that became ISIL in the first place.

We conditioned our help on the emergence of a new Iraqi government and prime minister that was committed to national unity, and committed to working with us.  We built an international coalition of nearly 70 nations, including some of Iraq’s neighbors.  We surged our intelligence resources so that we could better understand the enemy.  And then we took the fight to ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, not with American battalions but with local forces backed by our equipment and our advisors and, importantly, our Special Forces.  In that campaign, we have now hit ISIL with over 16,000 airstrikes.  We have equipped and trained tens of thousands of partners on the ground.

And today, the results are clear:  ISIL has lost more than half its territory.  ISIL has lost control of major population centers.  Its morale is plummeting.  Its recruitment is drying up.  Its commanders and external plotters are being taken out, and local populations are turning against it.  (Applause.)

As we speak, ISIL faces an offensive on Mosul from Iraqi troops and coalition support.  That’s the largest remaining city that it controls.  Meanwhile, in Syria, ISIL’s self-declared capital in Raqqa is being squeezed.  We have attacked ISIL’s financial lifeline, destroying hundreds of millions of dollars of oil and cash reserves.  The bottom line is we are breaking the back of ISIL.  We’re taking away its safe havens.  (Applause.)  And we’ve accomplished all this at a cost of $10 billion over two years, which is the same amount that we used to spend in one month at the height of the Iraq War.  (Applause.)

So the campaign against ISIL has been relentless.  It has been sustainable.  It has been multilateral.  And it demonstrates a shift in how we’ve taken the fight to terrorists everywhere from South Asia to the Sahel.  Instead of pushing all of the burden onto American ground troops, instead of trying to mount invasions wherever terrorists appear, we’ve built a network of partners. 

In Libya, where U.S. airpower has helped local militias dislodge a dangerous ISIL cell.  In Mali, where U.S. logistics and intelligence support helped our French allies roll back al Qaeda branches there.  In Somalia, where U.S. operations support an African Union-led force and international peacekeepers.  And in Yemen, where years of targeted strikes have degraded al Qaeda in the Peninsula.

And these offensive efforts have buttressed a global effort to make it harder for terrorist networks to breach our defenses and spread their violent ideologies.  Working with European allies who have suffered terrible attacks, we’ve strengthened intelligence-sharing and cut in half the flow of foreign fighters to ISIL.  We’ve worked with our tech sector to supports efforts to push back on terrorist messages on social media that motivate people to kill.  A recent study shows that ISIL’s propaganda has been cut in half.  We’ve launched a Global Engagement Center to empower voices that are countering ISIL’s perversion of Islam, and we’re working closely with Muslim-majority partners from the Gulf to Southeast Asia.

This is your work.  We should take great pride in the progress that we’ve made over the last eight years.  That’s the bottom line.

No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.  (Applause.)  And it’s not because they didn’t try.  Plots have been disrupted.  Terrorists have been taken off the battlefield.  And we’ve done this even as we drew down nearly 180,000 troops in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today there are just 15,000.

New partnerships have been built.  We’ve respected the rule of law.  We’ve enlisted our values in this fight.  And all of this progress is due to the service of millions of Americans like you — in intelligence and in law enforcement, in homeland security, in diplomacy, in the armed services of the United States of America.  It’s thanks to you — (applause) — thanks to you.  

Now, to say that we’ve made progress is not to say that the job is done.  We know that a deadly threat persists.  We know that in some form this violent extremism will be with us for years to come.  In too many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, there has been a breakdown of order that’s been building for decades, and it’s unleashed forces that are going to take a generation to resolve.  Long-term corruption has rotted too many nation-states from within.  Governance is collapsing.  Sectarian conflicts rage.  A changing climate is increasing competition for food and water.  (Applause.)  And false prophets are peddling a vision of Islam that is irreconcilable with tolerance and modernity and basic science.  And in fact, every one of these trends is at play inside of Syria today.

And what complicates the challenge even more is the fact that for all of our necessary focus on fighting terrorists overseas, the most deadly attacks on the homeland over the last eight years have not been carried out by operatives with sophisticated networks or equipment, directed from abroad.  They’ve been carried out by homegrown and largely isolated individuals who were radicalized online.

These deranged killers can’t inflict the sort of mass casualties that we saw on 9/11, but the pain of those who lost loved ones in Boston, in San Bernardino, in Fort Hood and Orlando, that pain continues to this day.  And in some cases, it has stirred fear in our populations and threatens to change how we think about ourselves and our lives.

So while we’ve made it much more difficult — you have made it much more difficult — to carry out an attack approaching the scale of 9/11, the threat will endure.  We will not achieve the kind of clearly defined victory comparable to those that we won in previous wars against nations.  We won’t have a scene of the Emperor of Japan and Douglas MacArthur in a surrender.  And the reason we won’t have that is because technology makes it impossible to completely shield impressionable minds from violent ideologies.  And somebody who is trying to kill and willing to be killed is dangerous, particularly when we live in a country where it’s very easy for that person to buy a very powerful weapon. 

So rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs, or deploying more and more troops, or fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat, and we have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained.

In the time remaining, let me suggest what I think should guide this approach.  First of all, a sustainable counterterrorism strategy depends on keeping the threat in perspective.  The terrorist threat is real and it is dangerous.  But these terrorists want to cast themselves as the vanguard of a new world order.  They are not.  They are thugs and they are murderers, and they should be treated that way.  (Applause.)   Fascism threatened to overrun the entire world — and we had to wage total war in response.  Communism threatened not only to overturn a world order, but threatened nuclear holocaust — so we had to build armaments and alliances to contain it.  Today’s terrorists can kill innocent people, but they don’t pose an existential threat to our nation, and we must not make the mistake of elevating them as if they do.  That does their job for them.  It makes them more important and helps them with recruitment.

A second and related point is that we cannot follow the path of previous great powers who sometimes defeated themselves through over-reach.  By protecting our homeland while drawing down the number of troops serving in harm’s way overseas, we helped save resources, but more importantly, we saved lives.  I can tell you, during the course of my eight years, that I have never shied away from sending men and women into danger where necessary.  It’s always the hardest decision I make, but it’s one that I’ve made where the security of the American people is at stake.  And I’ve seen the costs.  I’ve held the hands of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  I’ve met the caskets of the fallen at Dover.  And that’s why I make no apologies for only sending our troops into harm’s way when there is a clear mission that is achievable and when it is absolutely necessary.

Number three, we need the wisdom to see that upholding our values and adhering to the rule of law is not a weakness; in the long term, it is our greatest strength.  (Applause.)  The whole objective of these terrorists is to scare us into changing the nature of who we are and our democracy.  And the fact is, people and nations do not make good decisions when they are driven by fear.  These terrorists can never directly destroy our way of life, but we can do it for them if we lose track of who we are and the values that this nation was founded upon.  (Applause.)

And I always remind myself that as Commander-in-Chief, I must protect our people, but I also swore an oath to defend our Constitution.  And over these last eight years, we have demonstrated that staying true to our traditions as a nation of laws advances our security as well as our values.

We prohibited torture, everywhere, at all times — and that includes tactics like waterboarding.  And at no time has anybody who has worked with me told me that doing so has cost us good intelligence.  (Applause.)  When we do capture terrorists, despite all the political rhetoric about the need to strip terrorists of their rights, our interrogation teams have obtained valuable information from terrorists without resorting to torture, without operating outside the law.  Our Article III courts have delivered justice faster than military trials.  And our prisons have proven more than capable of holding the most dangerous terrorists.

Consider the terrorists who have been captured, lawfully interrogated, and prosecuted in civilian courts.  Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square.  Dzohkar Tsarneyev, the Boston Marathon bomber.  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber.”  American juries and judges have determined that none of these people will know freedom again.  But we did it lawfully.  And the wheels of justice right now are turning for others — terrorists like Ahmed Warsame, an al-Shabaab commander, and Abu Khatalla, accused leader of the Benghazi attacks.  We can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are.

And, in fact, our success in dealing with terrorists through our justice system reinforces why it is past time to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo.  (Applause.)  This is not just my opinion, it’s the opinion of many military leaders.  During my administration, we have responsibly transferred over 175 detainees to foreign governments, with safeguards to reduce the risk of them returning to the battlefield.  And we’ve cut the population in Gitmo from 242 to 59.  The politics of fear has led Congress to prevent any detainees from being transferred to prisons in the United States — even though, as we speak, we imprison dangerous terrorists in our prisons, and we have even more dangerous criminals in all of our prisons across the country; even though our allies oftentimes will not turn over a terrorist if they think that terrorist could end up in Gitmo; even though groups like ISIL use Gitmo in their propaganda.  So we’re wasting hundreds of millions of dollars to keep fewer than 60 people in a detention facility in Cuba.  That’s not strength.  Until Congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history, and I will continue to do all that I can to remove this blot on our national honor.  (Applause.)

Number four, we have to fight terrorists in a way that does not create more terrorists.  For example, in a dangerous world, terrorists seek out places where it’s often impossible to capture them, or to count on local governments to do so.  And that means the best option for us to get those terrorists becomes a targeted strike.  So we have taken action under my command, including with drones, to remove terrorists from the battlefield, which protects our troops and has prevented real threats to the American people.  (Applause.)

Now, under rules that I put in place and that I made public, before any strike is taken outside of a warzone, there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.  And while nothing is certain in any strike, and we have acknowledged that there are tragic instances where innocents have been killed by our strikes, this is the highest standard that we can set.  Nevertheless, we still have critics who suggest that these strikes are wrong.  And I say to them, you have to weigh the alternatives.  Drone strikes allow us to deny terrorists a safe haven without airstrikes, which are less precise, or invasions that are much more likely to kill innocent civilians as well as American servicemembers.

So the actions that we’ve taken have saved lives at home and abroad.  But the point is, is that we do have to be careful to make sure that when we take actions, we’re not alienating local populations, because that will serve as recruitment for new terrorists.   

Number five, transparency and accountability serve our national security not just in times of peace, but, more importantly, in times of conflict.  And that’s why we’ve made public information about which terrorist organizations we’re fighting and why we’re fighting them.  We’ve released assessments of non-combatants killed in our operations, taken responsibility when mistakes are made.  We’ve declassified information about interrogation methods that were wrong so we learn from past mistakes.  And yesterday, I directed our government for the first time to release a full description of the legal and policy frameworks that guide our military operations around the world. 

This public information allows for a more informed public debate, and it provides a potential check on unfettered executive power.  The power of the presidency is awesome, but it is supposed to be bound by you, our citizens.  (Applause.)  But here’s the thing:  That information doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t work if the people’s representatives in Congress don’t do their jobs, if they’re not paying attention.  (Applause.)

Right now, we are waging war under authorities provided by Congress over 15 years ago — 15 years ago.  I had no gray hair 15 years ago.  (Laughter.)  Two years ago, I asked Congress, let’s update the authorization, provide us a new authorization for the war against ISIL, reflecting the changing nature of the threats, reflecting the lessons that we’ve learned from the last decade.  So far, Congress has refused to take a vote. 

Democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war.  (Applause.)  That’s not good for our military, it’s not good for our democracy.  And, by the way, part of the reason that’s dangerous is because today, with our outstanding, all-volunteer force, only one percent of the population is actually fighting.  (Applause.)  Which means that you are carrying the burden.  Which means that it is important for us to know what it is that we’re doing and have to explain what we are doing to the public, because it becomes too easy to just send one percent of the population out to do things even if they’re not well thought through.

If a threat is serious enough to require the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, then members of Congress should at least have the courage to make clear where they stand -– not on the sidelines — (applause) — not on cable TV shows, but by fulfilling their constitutional duty and authorizing the use of force against the threats that we face today.  That’s how democracies are supposed to work.

Number six, alongside our outstanding military work, we have to draw upon the strength of our diplomacy.  Terrorists would love to see us walk away from the type of work that builds international coalitions, and ends conflicts, and stops the spread of deadly weapons.  It would make life easier for them; it would be a tragic mistake for us. 

Just think about what we’ve done these last eight years without firing a shot.  We’ve rolled back Iran’s nuclear program.  That’s not just my assessment, that’s the assessment of Israeli intelligence, even though they were opposed to the deal.  We’ve secured nuclear materials around the globe, reducing the risk that they fall into the hands of terrorists.  We’ve eliminated Syria’s declared chemical weapons program.  All of these steps have helped keep us safe and helped keep our troops safe.  Those are the result of diplomacy.  And sustained diplomatic efforts, no matter how frustrating or difficult they sometimes appear, are going to be required to resolve the conflicts roiling the in Middle East, from Yemen, to Syria, to Israel and Palestine.  And if we don’t have strong efforts there, the more you will be called upon to clean up after the failure of diplomacy.

Similarly, any long-term strategy to reduce the threat of terrorism depends on investments that strengthen some of these fragile societies.  Our generals, our commanders understand this.  This is not charity.  It’s fundamental to our national security.  A dollar spent on development is worth a lot more than a dollar spent fighting a war.  (Applause.)

This is how we prevent conflicts from starting in the first place.  This is how we can ensure that peace is lasting — after we’ve fought.  It’s how we stop people from falling prey to extremism — because children are going to school and they can think for themselves, and families can feed themselves and aren’t desperate, and communities are not ravaged by diseases, and countries are not devastated by climate changes.

As Americans, we have to see the value of empowering civil societies so that there are outlets for people’s frustrations, and we have to support entrepreneurs who want to build businesses instead of destroying.  We have to invest in young people because the areas that are generating terrorists are typically having a huge youth bulge, which makes them more dangerous.  And there are times where we need to help refugees who have escaped the horrors of war in search of a better life.   (Applause.)  Our military recognizes that these issues of governance and human dignity and development are vital to our security.  It’s central to our plans in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.  Let’s make sure that this wisdom is reflected in our budgets, as well.

And finally, in this fight, we have to uphold the civil liberties that define us.  Terrorists want us to turn on one another.  And while defeating them requires us to draw upon the enormous capabilities of all of our government, we have make sure changes in how we address terrorists are not abused.  This is why, for example, we’ve made extensive reforms in how we gather intelligence around the world, increasing oversight, placing new restrictions on the government’s ability to retain and search and use certain communications so that people trust us, and that way they cooperate and work with us.

We don’t use our power to indiscriminately read emails or listen to phone calls just targeted at folks who might be trying to do us harm.  We use it to save lives.  And by doing so, by maintaining these civil liberties, we sustain the confidence of the American people and we get the cooperation of our allies more readily.  Protecting liberty — that’s something we do for all Americans, and not just some.  (Applause.)

We are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of Islam.  But they do not speak for over a billion Muslims around the world, and they do not speak for American Muslims, including many who wear the uniform of the United States of America’s military.  (Applause.)

If we stigmatize good, patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorists’ narrative.  It fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill.  If we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, we’re not just going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we’ll also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend.

So let my final words to you as your Commander-in-Chief be a reminder of what it is that you’re fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for.  The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom.  We’re a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose.  The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny, or carry a special ID card, or prove that they’re not an enemy from within.  We’re a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world.

We’re a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it.  The universal right to speak your mind and to protest against authority, to live in a society that’s open and free, that can criticize a President without retribution — (applause) — a country where you’re judged by the content of your character rather than what you look like, or how you worship, or what your last name is, or where your family came from — that’s what separates us from tyrants and terrorists.

We are a nation that stands for the rule of law, and strengthen the laws of war.  When the Nazis were defeated, we put them on trial.  Some couldn’t understand that; it had never happened before.  But as one of the American lawyers who was at Nuremberg says, “I was trying to prove that the rule of law should govern human behavior.”  And by doing so, we broadened the scope and reach of justice around the world.  We held ourselves out as a beacon and an example for others.

We are a nation that won World Wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated.  We helped them rebuild.  We didn’t hold on to territory, other than the cemeteries where we buried our dead.  Our Greatest Generation fought and bled and died to build an international order of laws and institutions that could preserve the peace, and extend prosperity, and promote cooperation among nations.  And for all of its imperfections, we depend on that international order to protect our own freedom.

In other words, we are a nation that at our best has been defined by hope, and not fear.  A country that went through the crucible of a Civil War to offer a new birth of freedom; that stormed the beaches of Normandy, climbed the hills of Iwo Jima; that saw ordinary people mobilize to extend the meaning of civil rights.  That’s who we are.  That’s what makes us stronger than any act of terror. 

Remember that history.  Remember what that flag stands for.  For we depend upon you — the heirs to that legacy — our men and women in uniform, and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us — that commitment to a common creed.  The confidence that right makes might, not the other way around.  (Applause.)

That’s how we can sustain this long struggle.  That’s how we’ll protect this country.  That’s how we’ll protect our Constitution against all threats, foreign and domestic.

I trust that you will fulfill that mission, as you have fulfilled all others.  It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your Commander-in-Chief.  I thank you for all that you’ve done, and all that you will do in the future.  May God bless you.  May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Appeal to Electoral College Voters: You Can (Should) (Must) Save US and Elect Winner of Popular Vote, Hillary Clinton

The Electoral College voters need to have courage and show they are true patriots and elect Hillary Clinton, winner of the popular vote, the next president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Electoral College voters need to have courage and show they are true patriots and elect Hillary Clinton, winner of the popular vote, the next president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Petitions are circulating such as this one from Credo:

“Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president and did not win the support of the majority of the American people. Hillary Clinton is set to win the majority of the vote by more than 2 million votes despite widespread voter suppression and the FBI’s interference in the election. Honor the majority vote and elect Hillary Clinton on Dec. 19.”

I’m wondering how many of the electoral voters are actually Never-Trumpers, and now, since they have seen how Trump would govern, who he intends to appoint to run the country (a climate denier to run the EPA; an anti-public education billionaire to run Education; an unhinged fired General to run national security), might be having a twinge of remorse, especially given the fact that Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes (most ever for a candidate who didn’t actually win the presidency), and new revelations about Trump’s conflicts of interest, his lack of transparency and his pay-to-play approach to foreign relations (an echo of Richard Nixon’s, “If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal”).

Nor did Trump “win” the key swing states that put him over 270 electoral votes fairly.

Reports of Russian interference that turned the tide of the election should be a grave concern to Electoral College voters, if they consider themselves patriots. Throughout the campaign, it was clear the Russian government was actively working to influence the outcome in Trump’s favor. State-sponsored Russian hackers provided troves of damaging emails and documents to WikiLeaks and other websites. Paid Russian trolls disseminated fake news across US social media sites to spread misinformation favorable to Trump. And though Trump lied about it, his campaign was in direct contact with the Russian government throughout the election, including his strategist Roger Stone (who cut his teeth on the Richard Nixon campaign).  Trump has well established connections to Russia through many business dealings, and he spent considerable time during the campaign praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Now that Trump has access to classified intelligence and the nuclear codes, we can’t trust what he will do with them. His presidency is a clear threat to American democracy and our national security,” writes Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director for CREDO Action from Working Assets.

Moreover, there is strong evidence of voter suppression aimed at likely Democratic voters (minorities), including making it difficult to obtain newly required voter ID materials, closing polling places and reducing early voting.  In Wisconsin, where Clinton lost by only 27,000 votes, 300,000 eligible voters lacked the strict forms of ID needed to vote, and the state saw its lowest turnout in 20 years, especially in Black communities. And across the country, Black people were forced to wait in line twice as long on average as white people.

In North Carolina, there were 158 fewer early voting polling places in Black communities, and Black turnout was down 16 percent. And by the way, how is it possible that the Democratic won the Governor’s race, but that Clinton at the top of the ticket didn’t win? – why is there no challenge to that vote, as the losing Republican Governor has waged?

“It’s entirely possible that without voter suppression, Clinton would have won the Electoral College along with the popular vote,” Nelson states (though it is harder to prove voter suppression than lie about the existence of voter fraud).

Indeed, Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million – a bigger margin than many elected presidents won by, and the biggest margin of any person who did not go on to actually become president (Al Gore included). Trump has already proved he will dismiss the will of the majority. Why is it that the “Real America” disqualifies urbanites, women, minorities, professionals, college educated people, especially Ivy Leaguers?

In just the first week since seizing the election, Trump has demonstrated that he will be exactly who he showed himself to be, starting with the Team of Thugs, Reprobates, Misogynists, Corporatists, Racists, White Supremacists, not to mention those who are totally inexperienced to carry out the functions they are tasked with, he has surrounded himself with and who he is naming to cabinet and key offices. It is emerging as a “Team of Billionaires and 1-Percenters,” who built their financial empires on the backs of the very white working class people that Trump pretended to care about.

He has shown that he will protect his own business profits at the expense of the national interest – unabashedly doing business and extracting favors from foreign dignitaries, evoking Richard Nixon’s line, “If the president does it, then it isn’t illegal.” There is no doubt that he has realized he could leave office $100 billion richer. He absolutely doesn’t care about conflicts of interest. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had done anything remotely like that upon becoming the president-elect. They would have impeached her before inauguration day (Republicans mounted a special investigation into the Clintons’ Christmas card list when Bill took office).

Trump already showing he will trample transparency and a free press, preferring to continue to tweet outright lies should also have the Republican electors who claim to be the guardians of the Constitution quaking. That he will attack the press and a Hamilton actor appealing for his administration to just consider all Americans, but not condemn the Neo Nazis who are cheering his victory with a Hitler salute, that he dictates to the media how they will photograph him, and shuts out media that he feels don’t represent him well, are only the preview to the propaganda he will wage.

And now Trump declares he would take away citizenship and jail anyone who burns the flag, which the Supreme Court has already ruled is protected free speech – further evidence that he aspires to follow Vladimir Putin’s model. Trump doesn’t know and doesn’t care about civil rights or the Constitution.

And those Electoral Voters should be downright shaking about the fact Trump has declined taking the daily Presidential intelligence briefing (instead obsessing over convincing Carrier Air Conditioners not to move to Mexico), and from all accounts, dismissive of Obama’s advice to him on such critical topics as the urgency of keeping North Korea in check – an echo of George W. Bush’s dismissal of President Clinton’s intelligence advisers warning him of Osama bin Laden as a grave threat, only to stand by as four hijacked planes, circling around for hours, hit their targets on 9/11 without any defense. But Trump believes, “I know more than the generals” and yet, he was shocked to hear General Mattis tell him that torture doesn’t work. Shocked!

The Republican electors may be cheering Trump’s plan to install climate deniers to run Energy and Interior and overturn climate action, the Iran nuclear deal, cancel international agreements,  repeal Obamacare and women’s reproductive rights; that he will voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security, create a registry for Muslims, and install one billionaire to destroy public education and another billionaire who amassed his fortune taking advantage of bankrupt companies to be Secretary of Commerce – but they who claim to be patriots should have concern that Trump will do all of this without care, awareness or interest of the larger consequences to the majority of Americans who rejected him.

But the Republican electors should be downright quaking in their proverbial boots over Trump’s irresponsible, erratic and ignorant foreign policy, already demonstrated in how he praised the Philippines President (for his extrajudicial murders), antagonized China in speaking directly to the President of Taiwan (when China could instantly crash the US economy and move more aggressively into Asia-Pacific territorial waters), dismissed the nuclear threat from North Korea, even as South Korea’s presidency is toppling, and embraced Putin, effectively giving him license to stampede through Ukraine and into the Balkans.

And the only reason Trump will be president is for the voter suppression and likely election (not voter) fraud tactics (not to mention the unprecedented intrusion by FBI Director James Comey just 11 days before the election) that managed to tilt key swing states by the 1-2% margin for him to hit the magic number of 270 Electoral Votes despite losing the popular vote by a wide margin. You only needed Russia to tamper with a few votes here and there in precincts in the swing states to swing the election – indeed, only 100,000 votes among three battleground states that were polling in Hillary’s favor just before the election: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And so I write this as a last-ditch appeal to the Electoral College voters to do the right thing, the moral thing, and in those narrowly decided battleground states, vote for Hillary Clinton. This isn’t a violation of the Constitution; at most, they would have to pay a $1000 fine for respecting the will of the people. A chance to show courage and be a true patriot.

It is clear that along with the myth of the American Dream, the US has never actually been a democracy, even in present times – between the limits on access to the polls, gerrymandering, the ways that money influences elections, and the Electoral College. And instead of getting better – with the 15th, amendment giving black men the right to vote, and the 19th amendment giving women the vote – those who would obstruct democracy have only gotten more lethal, devious, and technological.

Face it, the Founders weren’t gods from Apollo, they were human beings, embarking on a great experiment in governance and were skeptical of actually giving power to ordinary people. In fact, the Constitution only gave the vote to white property-owning men. How did it happen in Jacksonian times that white men without property all of a sudden got to vote, without a amending the Constitution, while non-white males and women had to wait for Constitutional amendments?

Now, in a capitulation to the idea that 2016 may be a done deal, a movement is underway to democratize the election in time for the 2020 presidential contest.

It may be time to abolish the Electoral College but that would require amending the Constitution but since that is not likely (look at how miserably efforts to amend the Constitution to overturn the notion that corporations are people and cash is free speech). Or, since that is not likely given the fact that the party is power has benefited so royally, the Electoral College needs to be modified, which can happen at the state level.

This nation was founded as an imperfect union, set on a journey to become a more perfect one. We have yet to get there, but over time, there has been movement toward the ideal of one-person, one-vote democracy.

The Electoral College is yet another archaic relic of the Founders’ experiment and concession to small states and slave-holding states in order to keep a fragile union together. But while the furor over the 2016 election has people talking about a Constitutional Amendment to abolish it, that won’t happen because it has worked so effectively for the party in control, along with gerrymandering, Citizens United, Voter ID and all forms of anti-democratic, voter suppressing tactics.

The electoral votes awarded to states are not even reflective of the state’s population, once again giving small, rural (white) states (that Republicans like to call “The Real America,” effectively dismissing the citizenship of urban-dwellers, college-educated, professionals, women, non-whites, non-Christians) disproportional representation (like the US Senate) and moving this nation even further away from the mythical principal of “one person, one vote.”

Indeed, if California was apportioned electoral votes based on its population, it would have 200 votes instead of the 50.

“Today, the vote of a citizen in Wyoming is four times as powerful as the vote of a citizen in Michigan,” Lawrence Lessig writes in the Washington Post. “The vote of a citizen in Vermont is three times as powerful as a vote in Missouri. This denies Americans the fundamental value of a representative democracy — equal citizenship. Yet nothing in our Constitution compels this result.”

For this reason, Republicans, who, in their 2012 “autopsy” only feigned concern for Hispanics, women, blacks because they believed the demographics were going against them, have realized that, just like in controlling the House and Senate, they can control the White House very effectively without a popular majority. They can advance policies that go against the interests of most Americans (so much for the white working class “finally” getting their populist advocate).

“Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president,” Lessig writes, arguing that the Electoral College should vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump and not veto the people’s choice. “That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions  — most important, the electors themselves.

“The framers believed, as Alexander Hamilton put it, that ‘the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the [president].’ But no nation had ever tried that idea before. So the framers created a safety valve on the people’s choice. Like a judge reviewing a jury verdict, where the people voted, the electoral college was intended to confirm — or not — the people’s choice. Electors were to apply, in Hamilton’s words, ‘a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice’ — and then decide. The Constitution says nothing about ‘winner take all.’ It says nothing to suggest that electors’ freedom should be constrained in any way. Instead, their wisdom — about whether to overrule ’the people’ or not — was to be free of political control yet guided by democratic values. They were to be citizens exercising judgment,  not cogs turning a wheel.”

And so I write this as a last-ditch appeal to the Electoral College voters to do the right thing, the moral thing, and in those narrowly decided battleground states, vote for Hillary Clinton. This isn’t a violation of the Constitution; at most, they would have to pay a $1000 fine for respecting the will of the people. A chance to show courage and be a true patriot.

See also:

Election Irregularities Demand Audit Before Vote is Certified

______________________________

© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

White House: More Communities Sign on to Obama’s TechHire Initiative Facilitating Hiring into Communities

 

Boston, one of the cities that has joined Obama’s TechHire pipeline to tech jobs. TechHire Boston plans to more than double the number of high school Tech Apprentices from 100 to 250 and increase the number of individuals connected to IT-related jobs to 500 by 2020 © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Boston, one of the cities that has joined Obama’s TechHire pipeline to tech jobs. TechHire Boston plans to more than double the number of high school Tech Apprentices from 100 to 250 and increase the number of individuals connected to IT-related jobs to 500 by 2020 © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Obama Administration initiatives like TechHire have contributed to the record job creation and are in strong contrast to the feeble “score” Donald Trump is touting in retaining 800 jobs at Carrier Air Conditioners by throwing $7 million in tax incentives, paid for by Indiana citizens. It should have been a model to be continued and expanded. In contrast to Trump’s corporate welfare approach – which will be manifest in massive corporate tax cuts which will have to be paid for by working people – job-training programs like Obama’s would have helped those who are being displaced by advanced manufacturing technologies and the transition to clean, renewable energy enterprises, capturing more of the 5.5 million jobs that employers are having difficulty filling. Here’s yet another Fact Sheet of what America will lose with the incoming Administration. – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

FACT SHEET: Progress and Momentum in Support of TechHire Initiative 

In March 2015, the President launched the TechHire initiative based on a simple idea: Building a pipeline of tech talent can bring new jobs to local economies, facilitate business growth, and give local residents a pathway into the middle class. To build such a pipeline, TechHire addresses employers’ great need for technology talent with emerging models for quickly training people with limited ingoing technology skills to be job-ready in months, not years.

Today, there are nearly 600,000 open IT jobs across all sectors—more than two-thirds of which are in fields outside the tech sector, such as manufacturing, financial services and healthcare. These jobs pay one and a half times more than the average private-sector job, and training takes less than a year with emerging programs like “coding bootcamps,” free open data trainings, and online courses like the Department of Commerce’s Data Usability Project and massive open online courses (MOOCs) by the Federal government, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and the private sector.

Since its launch, TechHire communities across the country have piloted fast-track training programs designed to give people skills that are in high demand by employers. So far over 4,000 people have been trained and connected to work opportunities with local employers, earning average salaries of well over median income. Today, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith announced how private organizations will seize on this progress with new steps to meet the scale of the opportunity.

  • Expansion of TechHire to over 70 Cities, States, and Rural Areas. Earlier this spring, we announced that communities had exceeded the President’s goal of doubling the size of the TechHire initiative, reaching a total of 50 communities. Yet even after we made the announcement, new communities continued expressing interest to participate—so today, we are announcing 20 new communities joining the TechHire initiative, working with about 500 employers (and counting). As of today, communities in 39 states, plus DC and Puerto Rico, have joined TechHire.
  • Growth of the TechHire Action Network. Today, we are announcing a partnership between Opportunity@Work, an independent social enterprise, and the U.S. Department of Education to take the lead in continuing to support, organize and grow the more than 70 cities, states, and rural areas participating in the TechHire initiative. 
  • TechUP’s Include.io 27-City Roadshow 2017. TechUP | WeTechUP.com is launching the Include.io 2017 Roadshow across 27 cities in the United States to ignite 100,000 diverse and non-traditional tech talent and help 1,000 companies build their best teams. 

The Challenge and Opportunity 

People Need Opportunities to Retool and Retrain for Good Jobs More than Ever 

Over the past decade, towns across America have experienced shifts in prevalent industries and jobs due to rapidly evolving technologies and other factors. These changes have too often made workers’ skills less relevant, impacting their employment options and, in some cases, leading to spells of unemployment that make it difficult for families to meet even their most basic of needs.

When workers lose their jobs or get stuck in lower-wage jobs because of local economic shifts due to no fault of their own, they should have clear pathways to the middle class. Technology jobs can offer this pathway. Nearly 40 percent of these jobs do not require a four-year degree. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of fast-track tech training programs like “coding bootcamps” that prepare people with little technical know-how for tech jobs, often in just a few months. A recent survey from Course Report found that bootcamp graduates saw salary gains of 38 percent (or about $18,000 annually) after completing their programs.

The U.S. is Massively Underinvesting in Training for Jobs in Technology and Other In-Demand Fields to Meet Employers’ Needs 

In the face of a large and growing need of companies and workers to retool and retrain, the U.S. is massively underinvesting in job training programs. The federal government’s largest job training investment program only trains about 180,000 U.S. workers per year.  America spends 0.03 percent of GDP on training while other countries are investing nearly 20 times more. And in spite of the evidence that apprenticeships are one of the most effective training tools, fewer than five percent of workers in the U.S. train as apprentices, relative to 60 percent in Germany.

In early 2010, there were 14.4 million unemployed Americans. Current funding levels would only allocate $212 per person for training and reemployment services, an insufficient amount compared to a $1,700 average semester cost for a community college. During times of high unemployment in 2009, many states reported training waiting lists of thousands of people long due to funding gaps.

Training workers in the US for 21st-century jobs will require a significant increase in investment from current levels, which are far below Germany and other European countries. This investment would benefit our businesses, our workers, and our economy by focusing on technology and other in-demand skills that are critical to fill existing jobs and attract and create new jobs in communities.

Expansion of TechHire to over 70 Cities, States, and Rural Areas with 20 New Communities Signing on Today 

The TechHire initiative began in March 2015 with 21 communities, and today it has grown to over 70 communities working with 1,500 employers on three key actions:

  • Opening up recruiting and hiring pathways for people without traditional credentials who can demonstrate that they have the skills to succeed in a tech job regardless of where those skills were attained.
  • Recruiting, incubating, and expanding accelerated tech learning programs – such as high quality coding bootcamps and innovative online training – which enable interested, unexperienced students to rapidly gain tech skills.
  • Connecting people to jobs by investing in and working with organizations that can vouch for those who have the skills to do the job, but who may lack the typical profile of education and experience.

20 New TechHire Communities Announced Today 

Today, the following 20 communities are joining the TechHire initiative:

Alachua and Bradford

Counties, FL

Anchorage, AL

Arizona (State of)

Bellevue, WA

Boston, MA

Carroll County, MD

Central Florida

El Paso County, TX

Howard County, MD

Mobile, AL

Oklahoma City, OK

Omaha, NE

Pensacola, FL

 

Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico

Tampa Bay, FL

Trenton City, NJ

Tulsa, OK

Puerto Rico

Toledo, OH

Stamford, CT

A detailed summary of each community can be found at the end of this document.

Growth of TechHire Action Network

Opportunity@Work, an independent social enterprise, will partner with the U.S. Department of Education and others to continue to support TechHire communities to implement, grow, amplify, and sustain their TechHire initiatives locally and across the country and organize the Action Network. Key goals of TechHire and the Action Network include:

(1)           Connecting employers to nontraditional, often overlooked, and more diverse tech talent and lifting up best practices from model companies.

(2)           Aggregating resources and partnerships to help underrepresented groups access and progress on tech career pathways.

(3)           Recruiting new TechHire communities and partners across sectors to support TechHire and advance the goal to expand access to fast-track tech training for underrepresented groups.

(4)           Developing and collecting tools and resources on TechHire.org to support job seekers, employers, educators, and community partners.

(5)           Working with communities to identify and leverage federal, state, local, and philanthropic funding more effectively to support TechHire activities and accelerated tech training.

(6)           Expanding the learning network of TechHire leaders across the country, convenenational and regional events to promote collaboration among TechHire hubs, share best practices, and troubleshoot common challenges.

(7)           For more details, visit the TechHire.org page.

TechUP’s Include.io 27-City Roadshow 2017 

The TechUP + Include.io roadshow will bring together TechHire partners, technologists, recruiting leaders, and local community innovators to showcase the depth and breadth of incredible, diverse tech talent across the Unites States. Each city event features tech demos, workshops, and a career fair to highlight the next generation of technologists, thought leaders, and scale human connections. Their goal will be to spark local tech ecosystems, build momentum around inclusion, fill open tech jobs and change the face of technology.

Summary Descriptions of the 20 Communities Joining TechHire Today 

We are pleased that communities continue to spread the TechHire initiative across the country, and today we announce an additional 20 communities who have developed cross-sector coalitions to train workers with the tech skills they need for the open tech jobs that local employers are seeking to fill. A summary of each of the communities is below:

Alachua and Bradford Counties, FL 

In Alachua and Bradford counties, Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL, CareerSource of North Central Florida (CSNCFL), the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce will collaborate with Gainesville Dev Academy and others to train and place at least 300 individuals into programming and app development jobs by 2020. This program will help serve local tech jobs across all sectors, including local tech companies like Immersed Games, MindTree, Onward Development, NextGen, and Verigo.

Anchorage, AL 

Led by the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, the Anchorage Mayor’s Office will work with Anchorage Community Land Trust, Code for Anchorage, Future Coders of Alaska, Lynda.com, Coursera, and other programs to train and place over 500 workers into tech jobs by 2020. Once trained, program graduates will fill the needs of local employers including GCI, Municipality of Anchorage, Resource Data. Inc, and PangoMedia, as well as help retain Anchorage’s top talent. To help connect graduates to jobs, the Alaska Department of Labor aims to revamp the interface for the state job-seeker platform.

Arizona (State of) 

The State of Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity will leverage a “No Wrong Door” approach to recruit disconnected youth and nontraditional candidates into tech training and jobs across industries from aerospace & defense to financial services. The Arizona Tech Council, Arizona’s premier trade association for science and tech companies, will help leverage the resources of the tech community to focus on expanding tech talent, along with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations. In partnership with the University of Arizona and other local training providers, TechHire Arizona aims to train and place over 100 individuals across southern Arizona and Maricopa County over the next year, which is slated to increase to well over 500 individuals across Arizona by 2020.

Bellevue, WA 

TechHire Bellevue will bring together local employers, government and workforce development resources, with educational support from Coding Dojo and Bellevue College to facilitate training and hiring of local talent into tech jobs. The TechHire effort aligns with local employers’ missions to increase workforce diversity. Examples include Microsoft’s LEAP and Civic Tech programs, as well as Expedia, which has hired nearly a dozen Coding Dojo graduates to date. TechHire Bellevue will specifically target under-served populations locally, including minorities, veterans and the homeless, to help them learn and connect with local tech jobs.

Boston, MA 

A regional consortium of Boston employers and training providers are blazing the path to IT jobs, led by the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), the City’s workforce development board, and SkillWorks, a regional funders’ collaborative. Companies from a range of sectors—including healthcare, education, government, technology, and finance—will support the initiative. TechHire Boston plans to more than double the number of high school Tech Apprentices from 100 to 250 and increase the number of individuals connected to IT-related jobs to 500 by 2020.

Carroll County, MD 

Carroll County employers, training providers, and community organizations are uniting to train and employ more than 200 local tech workers by 2020. Led by Carroll Community College, the Carroll Technology Council and the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, Inc. (MAGIC), a broad group of partnering organizations will connect local participants in leading-edge tech training programs to a network of over 520 county employers.

Central Florida

CareerSource Central Florida is developing a coalition across sectors to train and place 100 people within the year and 400 people by 2020 into tech jobs, with an emphasis on serving underemployed, minority, and female candidates. The University of Central Florida, Valencia College, and Florida Institute of Technology will each play a role in developing trainings for students to quickly learn tech skills. Businesses from across Florida that participate in the Florida High Tech Corridor Council will support the initiative with an array of commitments, including commitments to consult on course design, interview candidates, and provide on-the-job learning opportunities.

El Paso County, TX 

Emerging companies in El Paso County will soon have an influx of talent, thanks to collaboration among the Workforce Solutions Borderplex Development Board Area and local partners to lead Reboot El Paso, a collective effort to create and expand IT career pathways. The initiative aims to train and place 400 individuals into tech jobs by 2020. First, the coalition will build awareness among non-traditional candidates, with an emphasis on veterans, the long-term unemployed, and youth. Then, the coalition commits to develop a pipeline to jobs with employer partners and assess applicants for fit to the jobs with competencies rather than credentials. Finally, the coalition will connect graduates to jobs.

Howard County, MD 

Howard Community College and the Howard Tech Council (HTC) will come together to train individuals for jobs in tech fields including computer science, information technology, cybersecurity, and computer forensics. Howard County’s TechHire initiative will leverage an apprenticeship model, whereby trainees can participate in on-the-job learning with the over 200 regional employers that participate in Howard Tech Council. By 2020, the Howard County TechHire initiative aims to train and place 800 individuals, with an emphasis on the long-term unemployed, minorities, and the military.

Mobile, AL 

The City of Mobile, Alabama will partner with the Gulf Coast Technology Council and 17 employers to develop industry-driven training, including customized capacity building for incumbent workers, a coding bootcamp pilot, and advanced manufacturing technical trainings for entry-level job seekers. The trainings will be facilitated by Depot/U, Iron Yard, and General Assembly. This program will include opportunities for trainees to network with local employers seeking talent, including Accureg Software, AM/NS Calvert, Rural Sourcing Inc., and The Red Square Agency. By 2020, the collaborative aims to train and hire 500 technical workers, including those who are underemployed and dislocated, boosting Mobile’s burgeoning tech community.

Oklahoma City, OK 

StarSpace46, Inc., Creative Oklahoma, and Techlahoma Foundation will work with fast-track and agile training programs to train and place 500 IT workers by 2020. With commitments from employers spanning from the aerospace sector to the not-for-profit sector, trainees will gain and utilize skills in native mobile development, user interface design, and front-end and application development. Students will also gain access to mentorship in entrepreneurship and business.

Omaha, NE 

Omaha is bringing together AIM and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, including traditional and start-up employers alike, in their effort to develop a local tech training and employment ecosystem. Local training bootcamps have committed to help train over 1,000 people by 2020, to help fill local tech jobs in industries from financial services to tech.

Pensacola, FL 

Pensacola State College will collaborate with employer convener Innovation Coast, Inc., including community workforce partners Global Business Solutions, Inc. (GBSI), Technical Software Services, Inc. (TECHSOFT), Gulf Power Company, AppRiver, and the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC), to train and place 200 technology workers by 2020. With a focus on veterans, minorities, and economically disadvantaged individuals in the Pensacola area, students can gain skills across IT fields, including cybersecurity, coding, and networking. In addition to training, this initiative includes opportunities to make connections with potential employers and reduce unemployment.

Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico 

NMTechWorks is a community coalition in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico with support from the Mayor’s Office, local employers, and non-profits. This multi-sector effort is designed to map, expand, and link pathways to tech careers, especially for rural, Native American, and Spanish-speaking community members. The Community Learning Network and StartUp Santa Fe are teaming with Cultivating Coders, a locally-based accelerated training provider, and others to grow the IT pipeline and train more than 500 students by 2020 for high-demand tech jobs with employers such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory, OpenEye Scientific Software, and Descartes Labs.

Tampa Bay, FL

CareerSource Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County’s workforce development board, will fast-track critical IT training and employment opportunities for well over 1,000 local out-of-school youth and young adults through 2020. Employers across industries, such as BayCare Health Systems and Cognizant Technology Solutions, are partnering with the initiative in order to advance the economic health and technology industry of the community.

Trenton City, NJ 

The Trenton TechHire initiative is a cross-sector partnership between employers, City of Trenton’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and Agile Strategies group, local education institutions, and local nonprofit organizations. This collaboration will prepare over 150 residents for tech jobs across sectors by 2020. Partners such as FCC Consulting Services, Tektite Industries, Inc., New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, and Power Magnetics, Inc. will meet regularly with Shiloh Community Development Corporation and the City of Trenton to strengthen and sustain the initiative.

Tulsa, OK 

In Tulsa, 36 Degrees North, Techlahoma and a network of workforce and education partners will collaborate to quickly train candidates for tech jobs with local employers including ConsumerAffairs and Mozilla. With strong support from the Mayor’s Office, Tulsa TechHire plans to train and place 600 candidates, including women and youth, into tech jobs across sectors by 2020.

Puerto Rico 

In Puerto Rico, co-working space Piloto 151 and Codetrotters Academy have launched a strong public-private partnership with support from the Puerto Rico IT Cluster, the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and the Puerto Rico Science & Technology Research Trust. The Puerto Rico TechHire initiative will bring together a wide range of local technology companies and startups, including Rock Solid Technologies, Spotery, Migo IQ, and Wovenware, among others, in order to train and place 100 workers into tech jobs over the next year, ramping up to 300 workers by 2020.

Toledo. OH 

Tech Toledo, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, and OhioMeansJobs Lucas County are initiating an information technology workforce alliance to address short-term needs and develop longer-term programs for IT internships and apprenticeship programs. Tech Toledo will work with employers such as Meyer Hill Lynch, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and The Andersons, Inc., to find and develop training to help fill their in-demand IT job needs. Tech Toledo will place at least 100 workers into tech jobs by 2020.

Stamford, CT

The City of Stamford and the Connecticut Department of Labor are working with Crashcode and The Business Council of Fairfield County to train and place 1,000 new workers into tech jobs by 2020 via an accelerated training program. Regional tech companies including Datto, CometaWorks, Comradity, GoNation, CTFN, and others will support with training design and hiring opportunities for graduates.

 

White House Announces New Commitments to Fair Chance Business Pledge and Actions to Improve Criminal Justice System

Protesting for justice in front of Federal Courthouse in downtown Manhattan, NY  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Protesting for justice in front of Federal Courthouse in downtown Manhattan, NY © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In the waning days of his administration, and in face of what is shaping up to be the most regressive administration intent on reversing the gains hard-fought over a century toward social, political, environmental justice, President Barack Obama is working feverishly to continue to make advances in criminal justice system. Donald Trump has pledged to repeal each and every one of Obama’s executive actions.

The White House issued this Fact Sheet on November 30, 2016: 

FACT SHEET: White House Announces New Commitments to the Fair Chance Business Pledge and Actions to Improve the Criminal Justice System

Since the President took office, this Administration has been committed to reforming America’s criminal justice system and highlighting the importance of reducing barriers facing justice-involved individuals trying to put their lives back on track.Over 2.2 million men and women are incarcerated in American prisons, and over 11 million spend time in our jails, and the vast majority of them will return to their communities. Improving education and job opportunities for these individuals has a recognized effect of reducing crime, and will make our communities safer.

Today, the White House is hosting a convening on criminal justice reform to discuss the progress and advancements that have been made over the past eight years and the opportunities that remain to tackle persistent problems. This event is part of the Administration’s continued efforts to bring together Americans who are working to improve the criminal justice system, from activists engaging in communities around the nation to law enforcement and elected officials working to lower the crime and incarceration rates, to formerly incarcerated people who are earning their second chance.

In conjunction with this event, the White House is announcing a round of new signatories to the Fair Chance Business Pledge and a series of Administration actions to enhance the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system including:

  • Final Office of Personnel Management “Ban the Box” Rule
  • Federal Bureau of Prison Reforms
  • White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable Report

These announcements build on the Administration’s longstanding commitment to reforming the criminal justice system, improving reentry outcomes, and removing unnecessary obstacles facing formerly incarcerated individuals.

Fair Chance Business Pledge

In April, the White House launched the Fair Chance Business Pledge encouraging companies to take action to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed, including individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The pledge represents a call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities and expand their talent pools by eliminating unnecessary hiring barriers facing those with a criminal record.

Today’s signatories to the Fair Chance Business Pledge bring the total number of pledged employers to over 300. The companies and organizations that have signed the pledge collectively employ over 5 million Americans. The new commitments come from a diverse range of employers including: Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, CVS Health, Gap, Intel, Kroger, LinkedIn, Monsanto, Perdue Farms, Shinola, Target, Tyson Foods, Union Square Hospitality Group, and WeWork.

Additionally, Glassdoor created a Fair Chance Pledge badge that companies can add to their profile on the website to proudly demonstrate their commitment to maintaining hiring and training programs for individuals with criminal records.

The Department of Justice recently funded the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSGJC) to assist Second Chance grantees and the field at-large through the National Reentry Resource Center. The award includes funding to provide employer-focused outreach and education to promote fair chance hiring practices. A coalition of Fair Chance Business Pledge Signatories has committed to working together with CSGJC and other external partners to share their successes in adopting fair chance hiring practices and encourage other businesses to follow suit.

Today’s announcement is further evidence of the private sector’s support for a more fair justice system, and the Pledge is one of many initiatives where the White House has successfully partnered with the private sector to increase opportunity for all Americans. 

By signing the Fair Chance Business Pledge, these companies are:

  • Voicing strong support for economic opportunity for all, including the approximately 70 million Americans who have some form of a criminal record.
  • Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to take action to reduce barriers to a fair shot at a second chance, including practices like “banning the box” by delaying criminal history questions until later in the hiring process; ensuring that information regarding an applicant’s criminal record is considered in proper context; and engaging in hiring practices that do not unnecessarily place jobs out of reach for those with criminal records.

THE FAIR CHANCE BUSINESS PLEDGE

We applaud the growing number of public and private sector organizations nationwide who are taking action to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed, including individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system. When around 70 million Americans – nearly one in three adults – have a criminal record, it is important to remove unnecessary barriers that may prevent these individuals from gaining access to employment, training, education and other basic tools required for success in life. We are committed to providing individuals with criminal records, including formerly incarcerated individuals, a fair chance to participate in the American economy.

Companies and organizations interested in joining the Fair Chance Business Pledge can do so by signing up HERE. 

Today’s signatories include:

  • Al Abbas Cookies
  • Alley Taco
  • American Eagle Sealcoating and Asphalt LLC
  • Amity Foundation
  • Andrews Funeral Home
  • Avalon Breads
  • Berry Much Yogurt
  • Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
  • Brooks Lumber
  • Butterball Farms, Inc.
  • Byblos
  • C.W. Morris – J.W. Henry Funeral Home
  • Capital Area ReEntry Coalition
  • Capitol City Contracting, Inc.
  • Carpenter’s Shelter
  • Cava Grill
  • Center for Living and Learning
  • Clif Bar
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Court Programs, Inc.
  • CPG Partnership Strategies LLC
  • CSI Saddlepads LLC
  • CVS Health
  • D.C. Central Kitchen
  • Dillard & Associates
  • DRP Systems
  • Ecolibrium3
  • Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute
  • Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
  • Fair Chance Workforce Interface LLC
  • FoodCorps, Inc.
  • Friends Outside
  • Gap
  • GeoFi
  • Get Ready Driving Academy
  • Glassdoor
  • Golden State Foods Corp.
  • Grandy’s Coney Island
  • Green Dot Stables
  • HopCat Detroit
  • InService Enterprise, LLC
  • Intel Corporation
  • Isidore Electronics Recycling
  • IT Total Care, Inc.
  • JAX Chamber
  • Jeff’s 40 Minute Cleaners
  • JSJ Staffing, LLC
  • Kansas City Community Source, Inc.
  • Konsultera
  • The Kroger Company
  • Lawson Screen & Digital Products, Inc.
  • Life Restoration CEDA
  • Linden Resources
  • LinkedIn
  • Los Angeles Black Worker Center
  • Los Angeles Conservation Corps
  • Lou’s Deli
  • Makin’ Movez LLC
  • Maria’s Italian Kitchen
  • Mark O’s Bar & Grill
  • MI United
  • MOD Pizza
  • Moe Appliance
  • Monsanto
  • National Dry Goods Company
  • Newton Brown Urban Design
  • Nexus Services, Inc.
  • NXIS Enterprises, LLC
  • Olive Branch Village Project
  • O’Neill Construction Group
  • Oscar’s Coney Island
  • Pass Job Connection
  • Perdue Farms, Inc.
  • Pet Supplies Plus
  • Phyllis Wheatley Community Center
  • Portland Bottling Company
  • Q Stride Inc.
  • RECAP, Inc.
  • Restoration Law Center
  • Roman Labor Services Corp.
  • Root & Rebound
  • Saucy By Nature
  • Shinola Detroit, LLC
  • Skill Source Group
  • St. Louis Wing Company LLC
  • Stratford University
  • SunHarvest Solar
  • Super Tek Group
  • TakeAction Minnesota
  • Taqueria El Nacimiento
  • Target
  • TBS Facility Services Group
  • The CPAI Group, Inc.
  • The Grey Door Boutique
  • The Lancaster Food Company
  • The Last Mile
  • The National Incarceration Association
  • The Pate House
  • The Phax Group, LLC
  • The Water Station
  • Transmedia Capital
  • TransNation Holdings, LLC
  • Trinosophes
  • Tyson Foods
  • Union Square Hospitality Group
  • Vaughan’s Public House
  • Virginia Employment Commission
  • WeWork
  • Work in Progress
  • Year Up
  • Yuca’s
  • Zaraxo

 Federal “Ban the Box” Rule

Today the Office of Personnel Management is finalizing a rule to ensure that applicants with a criminal history have a fair shot to compete for Federal jobs. The rule effectively “bans the box” for a significant number of positions in the Federal Government by delaying the point in the hiring process when agencies can inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer is made. This change prevents candidates from being eliminated before they have a chance to demonstrate their qualifications.

As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government should lead the way and serve as a model for all employers – both public and private. Banning the box for Federal hiring is an important step. It sends a clear signal to applicants, agencies, and employers across the country that the Federal Government is committed to making it easier for those who have paid their debts to society to successfully return to their communities, while staying true to the merit system principles that govern our civil service by promoting fair competition between applicants from all segments of society.

Federal Bureau of Prison Reforms

As part of the Justice Department’s deep commitment to a fair, effective criminal justice system, the Department announced today a series of reforms at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) designed to reduce recidivism and increase the likelihood of inmates’ safe and successful return to the community.  Today the department released a memo from Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates on reforms to residential reentry centers including covering the cost of obtaining state-issued IDs for inmates prior to their release from custody. Additionally, BOP is creating a semi-autonomous school district within the federal prison system and providing additional services for female inmates when the BOP facility in Danbury, Connecticut, resumes housing female inmates later this month. The Danbury facility will also house BOP’s first-ever integrated treatment facility for female inmates.

Last year, with the Department’s support, BOP retained outside consultants to review the agency’s operations and recommend changes designed to reduce the likelihood of inmates re-offending after their release from prison. As part of today’s announcement, BOP is launching a new website, justice.gov/prison-reform, that compiles current and ongoing reforms at BOP, and includes the final reports from the outside consultants.

White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable Report

Today the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (WH-LAIR) is issuing its first annual report to President Obama, “Expanding Access to Justice, Strengthening Federal Programs.” This report documents the significant steps that the 22 federal agency members of WH-LAIR have taken to integrate civil legal aid into programs designed to serve low-income and vulnerable people where doing so can both improve their effectiveness and increase access to justice.

Co-chaired by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, and staffed by the DOJ Office for Access to Justice, WH-LAIR was established to help provide legal assistance to Americans in need to further our shared goals of breaking the cycle of domestic violence and elder abuse epidemic, ending homelessness among veterans, and helping to remove obstacles to employment for jobseekers. Recognizing the power of legal aid to both increase the availability of meaningful access to justice and improve outcomes in many federal programs, WH-LAIR agencies have been working together since 2012 to integrate legal aid into their programs, policies and initiatives.

The report addresses key federal priorities where civil legal aid improves program outcomes, and also describes agencies’ efforts to partner with legal aid organizations to meet the needs of special populations, including veterans and servicemembers, tribes and tribal members, people with disabilities, people with criminal records, crime victims and disaster survivors.

 

Obama Hands Trump Rising Economy: November Continues Record Job Growth, Lowest Unemployment Since 2007

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

With Donald Trump continuing to rewrite history, advance falsehoods about Obama’s Presidency, it is important to examine the Employment report for November. Trumpsters depend upon disaffection and dissatisfaction. A strong economy is the antithesis. Also, Trump wants to take credit as the forward momentum of Obama’s policies continue on into the new administration, before the administration’s policies, undoing everything Obama accomplished, have their impact.

Trump was able to exploit years of propaganda from the Republicans aimed at destroying his presidency. Obama found a way to thread the needle in coming up with solutions, despite unprecedented obstruction of infrastructure spending, the America Jobs Act, spending for transportation and highways, defeating his plans to build high-speed rail and invest in clean, renewable energy.

Obama was almost a victim of his own success – like President Bill Clinton before him, who presided over a golden era of peace and prosperity, when everyone’s income and standard of living rose, only to see Al Gore denied the presidency – people take for granted how much better they are off from when Obama took office, when 850,000 jobs a month were being lost, 20,000 people a month were losing their health care, millions were losing their homes to foreclosure.

Obama also had in place programs to help the people who found themselves unable to pursue the 5.5 million unfilled jobs because of lack of training. He had programs to boost advanced manufacture, and open up markets to the 95% of the world that is outside the US.

Trump is profiting from being handed a growing economy, and he has signaled he will install the very same people who profited from millions of Americans misery, he will undo the financial and consumer protections, he will throw people back into the insecurity of losing health insurance and jobs and homes. He has shown in his appointments and in his business record that he will exploit workers and further weaken unions.

Statement on the Employment Situation in November

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in November. 

Summary: The economy added 178,000 jobs in November, extending the longest streak of total job growth on record, as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent.

The economy added a solid 178,000 jobs in November as the longest streak of total job growth on record continued. U.S. businesses have now added 15.6 million jobs since early 2010. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November, its lowest level since August 2007, and the broadest measure of underemployment fell for the second month in a row. Average hourly earnings for private employees have increased at an annual rate of 2.7 percent so far in 2016, faster than the pace of inflation. Nevertheless, more work remains to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared, including opening new markets to U.S. exports; taking steps to spur competition to benefit consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs; and raising the minimum wage. 

FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN NOVEMBER 2016 

1. U.S. businesses have now added 15.6 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010. Today, we learned that private employment rose by 156,000 jobs in November. Total nonfarm employment rose by 178,000 jobs, in line with the monthly average for 2016 so far and substantially higher than the pace of about 80,000 jobs per month that CEA estimates is necessary to maintain a low and stable unemployment rate given the impact of demographic trends on labor force participation. 

In November, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, its lowest level since August 2007. The labor force participation rate ticked down, though it is largely unchanged over the last three years (see point 3 below). The U-6 rate, the broadest official measure of labor underutilization fell 0.2 percentage point for the second month in a row in part due to a reduction in the number of employees working part-time for economic reasons. (The U-6 rate is the only official measure of underutilization that has not already fallen below its pre-recession average.) So far in 2016, nominal hourly earnings for private-sector workers have increased at an annual rate of 2.7 percent, faster than the pace of inflation (1.6 percent as of October, the most recent data available).

2. New CEA analysis finds that State minimum wage increases since 2013 contributed to substantial wage increases for workers in low-wage jobs, with no discernible impact on employment. In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Even as Congress has failed to act, 18 States and the District of Columbia—along with dozens of local government jurisdictions—have answered the President’s call to action and have raised their minimum wages. (In addition to the States that have already raised their minimum wages, voters in four States approved measures to raise the minimum wage in November.) To assess the impact of minimum wage increases implemented by States in recent years, CEA analyzed data from the payroll survey for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry—a group who tend to earn lower wages than those in other major industry groups and thus are most likely to be affected by changes in the minimum wage. As the chart below shows, hourly earnings grew substantially faster for leisure and hospitality workers in States that raised their minimum wages than in States that did not. By comparing trends in wage growth for the two groups, CEA estimates that increases in the minimum wage led to an increase of roughly 6.6 percent in average wages for these workers. At the same time—consistent with a large body of economic research that has tended to find little or no impact of past minimum wage increases on employment—leisure and hospitality employment followed virtually identical trends in States that did and did not raise their minimum wage since 2013. (See here for more details on CEA’s analysis.)

3. The strengthening labor market is drawing individuals into the labor force, offsetting downward pressure on employment growth from the aging of the population. Employment growth depends on three factors: population growth, the rate at which the population participates in the labor force, and the share of the labor force that is employed. The chart below decomposes employment growth (from the household survey) into contributions from each of these factors for each year of the current recovery. It further decomposes labor force participation into shifts attributable to demographics (such as the aging of the U.S. population) and shifts attributable to other factors (such as the business cycle). Throughout the recovery, demographic changes in labor force participation—primarily driven by a large increase in retirement by baby boomers that began in 2008—have consistently weighed on employment growth. In recent years, however, non-demographic changes in labor force participation have supported employment growth, as the strengthening of the labor market and increasing real wages have drawn more individuals into the labor force. The entry (or reentry) of workers into the labor force has helped employment growth maintain its recent solid pace even as the unemployment rate has fallen more slowly. These two shifts in labor force participation—demographic and non-demographic—have largely offset one another in recent months, and as a result the overall labor force participation rate has remained broadly stable since the end of 2013.

4. The number of unemployed workers per job opening, an indicator of labor market slack, is near its lowest level prior to the recession. Using data from the household survey and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, the chart below plots the ratio of unemployed workers to total job openings. In the recession, unemployment rose rapidly while job openings plummeted, sending the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings to a record peak of 6.6 in July 2009. As the unemployment rate has decreased over the course of the recovery, and as job openings have climbed to record highs this year, the ratio of unemployed workers to openings has fallen steeply, standing at 1.4 as of September (the most recent data available for openings). This is close to the ratio’s lowest level in the 2000s expansion, another indicator—in addition to recent increases in real wages—of a strengthening labor market.

5. The distribution of job growth across industries in November diverged from the pattern over the past year. Above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in professional and business services (+49,000, excluding temporary help services), while mining and logging (which includes oil extraction) posted a gain (+2,000) for the second time in recent months amid moderation in oil prices. On the other hand, retail trade (-8,000), information services (-10,000), and financial activities (+6,000) all saw weaker-than-average growth. Slow global growth has continued to weigh on the manufacturing sector, which is more export-oriented than other industries and which posted a loss of 4,000 jobs in November. Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months was -0.06, the lowest level since September 2012.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Election Irregularities Demand Audit Before 2016 Vote is Certified

An audit of election results in battleground states, deemed “too close to call” on Election Night, is necessary so Americans can have confidence the right candidate takes oath of office on January 20, 2017 © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
An audit of election results in battleground states, deemed “too close to call” on Election Night, is necessary so Americans can have confidence the right candidate takes oath of office on January 20, 2017 © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Let’s be clear: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million votes (the largest number for anyone who didn’t actually win the presidency) and pretty much by the margin that was forecast. She wasn’t a “bad” candidate. It wasn’t that she didn’t talk enough about an economic policy that would lift up everyone, or that she didn’t have enough policies. It wasn’t that she didn’t offer the so-called white working class a vision of a better future. The election was stolen.

Yet, she lost every “toss-up” battleground state by the narrowest of margins, only 1-2%, resulting in Trump winning the Electoral College votes (theoretically; there is still hope the voters will do the right thing and cast their ballot for the winner of the popular vote).

Does anyone doubt that if the situation reversed and Trump won the popular vote by millions but failed by thousands to win the Electoral Vote that Trump would have fought the result up to the Supreme Court (a la Bush v Gore), and his minions would have taken to the streets with guns? Even now, he is fomenting the lie that three million votes were cast illegally. This is who claims the presidency?

But in a brilliant manipulation, Trump railed about how the election would be stolen (from him), forcing Democrats –and particularly Hillary Clinton – to assert that American elections have integrity, and that any challenge would undermine the essence of a democratic republic, a peaceful transition of power, in order to prevent any contest. They were played, as is apparent with Trump replaying Clinton’s own statements (omitting the fact that it was Green Party candidate Jill Stein, not Clinton, who is demanding recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania). This isn’t up to Hillary Clinton or anyone. The voters need to know if the votes were accurately counted.

Meanwhile, Trump is now trumpeting – without any proof – that 3 million votes were cast illegally (the only person I have heard who was caught casting 2 ballots was a Des Moines woman who voted twice for Trump).  And if he believes that, he more than anyone, should be demanding recounts.

It is apparent that the shortfall in Electoral Votes was chiefly the result of Voter Suppression, with states unleashed by the weakening of the Voting Rights Act, and voter repression tactics in key sections of swing states designed (successfully) to shift 1-2% of the votes. This was clear in Wisconsin and North Carolina. But there is evidence also that in some key districts, the electronic voting machines may have been hacked in order to give the win to Trump, which demands proper audit and recount to assure Americans the rightful outcome of the election.

Add to this the reports that Russia hacked some state elections rolls, interfered with the election by hacking into Democratic National Committee and by paying trolls to disseminate false news (viewed 15 million times). Is it so implausible that a few – not an entire state – but enough precincts which rely on electronic voting without a paper trail could be hacked?

“Americans should demand this simple step to ensure that the machinery of democracy worked.

DFA members have spent years working to ensure our elections are fair, accessible, and verifiable,” Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America, wrote in an email.

This shouldn’t even be controversial. There should be routine audit after every election to assure that the electronic tallies conform with paper ballots, and full recounts where less than 2% margin separates the winners. Most urgently, given the fact that we have now seen cyber warfare with penetration of even the most secure government sites including the National Security Agency, electronic-only voting systems should be replaced with systems that generate a paper trail.

The Department of Justice was mum when I asked whether or how many complaints have been filed – whether voters found they were purged from the rolls when they arrived to vote, or whether long lines or inaccessible polling places kept them from casting their ballot.

“The Justice Department does not tally the number of callers to determine whether federal action is warranted. Investigatory decisions are based solely on the facts and evidence as they relate to the federal statutes the department enforces.”

But with Republicans now content they have found the means to control power without needing to secure a majority of voters – not for the House, the Senate or now the White House – necessary election reforms will never happen. And Trump is already signaling further attacks on voting rights, under the guise of promulgating the lie of rampant “voter fraud.”

That’s why this audit is so important now. And why the Electoral College should make the moral choice and cast their votes for Clinton.

___________________

© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Marking Obama’s Top 10 Actions to Advance Entrepreneurship, Administration Announces New Steps to Build on These Successes

San Francisco, hub of entrepreneurism. President Obama initiatives have encouraged and enabled entrepreneurs, helping the US turnaround from worst recession since the Great Depression, to the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
San Francisco, hub of entrepreneurism. President Obama initiatives have encouraged and enabled entrepreneurs, helping the US turnaround from worst recession since the Great Depression, to the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“[I]t has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of thingssome celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their laborwho have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.” – President Obama, Inaugural Address, January 21, 2009

In these waning days of Obama’s historic presidency, before the incoming Trump Administration can undo and erase his legacy, it is important to be reminded of his accomplishments:

America’s entrepreneurial economy is the envy of the world.  Young companies account for almost 30 percent of new jobs, and as we have fought back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, startups have helped the U.S. private sector create 15.5 million jobs since early 2010—the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record.

Today, in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, the Administration is releasing a Top 10 list of President Obama’s most significant specific actions to promote American entrepreneurship, as well as announcing new efforts to build on these successes.  The President’s unprecedented focus on the role of startups in the United States’ innovation economy is exemplified by his launch of Startup America in 2011, a White House initiative to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the Nation.

Thanks to the grit, determination, and creativity of entrepreneurs all across the country, American startup activity is rebounding and growing more inclusive of historically underrepresented groups and regions.  Studies indicate that:

 

  • Reversing a downward cycle that began during the Great Recession, U.S. startup activity ascended last year, representing the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades, while measures of startup revenue and employment growth have rebounded across industries as well.
  • New companies created 889,000 jobs in the final quarter of 2015—the highest job creation number since 2008.
  • Rates of entrepreneurship have increased for Latinos, African Americans, and immigrants between 1996 and 2015.
  • Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms is estimated to have grown at a rate five times the national average, including a more than doubling of the number of firms owned by African American women and Latinas.
  • American startups are not only rebounding, they are taking root in more communities all across the country—for example, the share of U.S. metro areas that attracted early stage venture capital has increased by around 50 percent since 2009.
  • The number of U.S. startup accelerator programs increased from fewer than 30 in 2009 to over 170 in 2015, providing mentorship and early funding to thousands of startups across 35 states plus D.C. and 54 metro areas.
  • Access to capital for high-growth entrepreneurs has improved significantly since 2009, with venture capital investment up an estimated 200 percent, far exceeding its pre-recession peak, and angel investment up 40 percent, approaching its pre-recession peak.
  • Compared with 137 countries, the United States continues to top the rankings in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, with the world’s most favorable conditions for entrepreneurs to start and scale new companies.

Over the past 8 years, many of the President’s signature achievements have significantly increased opportunities for entrepreneurs to take smart risks and build the next generation of great American companies:  the Affordable Care Act is making it easier for entrepreneurs to buy health insurance, unlocking them from traditional employer-based coverage; the Pay As You Earn program is making it easier for entrepreneurs to pay off student loan debt; the Open Data Initiative has unlocked over 200,000 government datasets as raw material for entrepreneurial innovation;ConnectED and ConnectALL are allowing aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere to access high-speed broadband, while a strong net neutrality policy ensures a free and open internet; and the President signed into law the largest annual increase inresearch and development funding in America’s history.

Breaking down barriers for all entrepreneurs is not the task of just one Administration.  For example, studies suggest that the share of venture-funded startups with women founders has nearly doubled in 5 years—but it is still only 18 percent.  Continuing to reverse America’s 40-year decline in startup activity will require building on the President’s record of addressing income inequality, promoting competitive markets, reducing unduly restrictive occupational licensing, and scaling up rapid training for 21st century technology skills.

In addition to releasing today’s Top 10 list of President Obama’s specific actions to promote entrepreneurship, the Administration is also announcing new private-sector actions to promote inclusive entrepreneurship.

New Actions by Organizations Answering the President’s Call to Action

  • Engineering deans from over 200 universities are committing to building a more-representative student talent pipeline.  At the first-ever White House Demo Day in 2015, 102 engineering deans pledged to develop concrete diversity plans for their programs to tap into diverse talent.  Since then, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has worked with its members to share best practices and to promote the inclusivity in engineering schools of all students regardless of visible or invisible differences.  ASEE is creating a platform to disseminate best practices among participating engineering schools that will help them implement the diversity initiative.  Today, at 206, the number of engineering deans that have signed the pledge has more than doubled since 2015.  ASEE will continue promoting and enhancing diversity and inclusion through all its participating members.  Read letter HERE.
  • 79 companies have now joined the Tech Inclusion Pledge.  At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit this past summer, President Obama announced a commitment by senior leadership from 33 companies of all sizes to fuel American innovation and economic growth by increasing the diversity of their technology workforce.  Today, 46 additional companies, including Xerox, TaskRabbit, and Techstars, are joining this Tech Inclusion Pledge, committing to take concrete action to make the technology workforce at each of their companies representative of the American people as soon as possible.  To facilitate additional pledge commitments and help companies meet those commitments, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and CODE2040 commit to maintain a website with free research-based implementation resources.  Read letter HERE. 
  • Early-stage investors are making a new commitment to promote inclusive entrepreneurship.  Today, more than 30 investment firms, angel investor groups, and startup accelerators with over $800 million under management have committed to achieving greater transparency in their funding criteria and to actively mentoring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, in an effort to increase the diversity of startup founders in their portfolios.  For example, MassMutual Foundation and Valley Venture Mentors are partnering to create a scalable model for rural startup accelerators, while Pipeline Angels is bringing its training programs for underrepresented investors to 20 additional cities.  Read letter HERE.

The President’s Top 10 Actions to Accelerate American Entrepreneurship

  1. Signed permanent tax incentives for startup investment.  The President signed into law 18 tax breaks for small businesses in his first term, including tax credits for those who hire unemployed workers and veterans.  In addition, in December 2015, Congress responded to the President’s call to make two critical tax incentivespermanent for the first time:
  • Made the Research and Experimentation (R&E) tax credit available to startups.  In addition to making the R&E tax credit permanent for the first time since its enactment in the early 1980s, Congress also expanded the credit to allow pre-revenue startups and small businesses to take advantage of the credit by counting it against up to $250,000 in payroll expenses for up to 5 years.
  • Permanently eliminated capital gains tax on certain small business stock. First enacted on a temporary basis in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and now permanent, this measure eliminates capital gains realized on the sale of certain small business stock held for more than 5 years, providing a major incentive for private-sector investment in high-growth entrepreneurial firms that fuel economic growth.
  1. Accelerated the transition of research discoveries from lab to market.The Federal government invests over $140 billion each year on Federally-funded research and development (R&D) conducted at universities, Federal laboratories, and companies.  The President issued a memorandum to agencies to accelerate the commercialization of Federal R&D, and made these Lab-to-Market efforts a core part of his management agenda.
  • Scaled up I-Corps, a rigorous entrepreneurship training program for scientists and engineers.  The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, first launched in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides entrepreneurship training for Federally funded scientists and engineers, pairing them with business mentors for an intensive curriculum focused on discovering a truly demand-driven path from their lab work to a marketable product.  Over the past 5 years, more than 800 researcher teams have completed this I-Corps training, from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies that have collectively raised more than $93 million in follow-on funding.  The I-Corps model has been adopted in 11 additional Federal agency partnerships, including an expansion to 17Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is implemented through a National Innovation Network across more than 70 universities.  Additionally, the Department of Defense’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator is helping provide students with the training to apply a similar lean startup methodology to real-world national-security problemssoon expanding to eight institutions of higher education this spring, and including new challenges in diplomacy, urban resilience, and energy.
  • Facilitated personnel exchanges between Federal labs, academia, and industry.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a final rule on “Technology Innovation-Personnel Exchanges,” allowing Federal agencies to more easily exchange personnel with universities, non-profits, and the private sector to advance R&D commercialization.
  • Increased access to Federally-funded research facilities and intellectual property for entrepreneurs and innovators.  Funded by NIST, the Federal Laboratory Consortium launched online tools for finding specific information and open data on more than 300 Federal laboratories with 2,500 user facilities and specialized equipment, as well as over 20,000 technologies available for licensing.
  • Strengthened Federal R&D funding for startups and small businesses.  For the first time in a decade, in 2011 the President signed a long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which annually provide over $2.5 billion in Federal R&D funding to technology startups and small businesses.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and 11 participating Federal agencies have expanded access to SBIR/STTR opportunities, including by building theSBIR.gov platform and initiating a road tour that has engaged historically underrepresented communities across the country.
  1. Cut red tape for entrepreneurs.The Administration’s Startup in a Day initiative is cutting red tape to make it easier for more entrepreneurs to get started and grow their businesses.  Over 100 cities, home to nearly 38 million Americans, have taken a public pledge to streamline their business startup processes, allowing entrepreneurs to navigate requirements in as little as 24 hours.  To support these streamlining efforts, the SBA sponsored a prize competition won by 28 cities and communities; examples include the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach, which both created online business portals that are open-source and can be shared with cities and communities across the country.  Additionally, over 52,000 small business borrowers have connected to lenders under a new SBA online matchmaking tool called LINC, while SBA One is taking SBA’s lending process entirely online, which will save hours of time and thousands of dollars per loan for entrepreneurs.
  1. Expanded regional entrepreneurship opportunities.  High-growth entrepreneurship is taking root in more and more communities across the country, in part thanks to targeted investments by this Administration.
  • Seeded startup accelerators in diverse communities.  The SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition serves entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors—from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech—with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community.  From 2014 to now, SBA has funded over 200 startup accelerator programs in every corner of the country, serving well over 5,000 startups that have collectively employed over 20,000 people and raised over 1.5 billion in capital.
  • Pioneered a regional innovation strategy.  SBA’s investments in 62 Regional Innovation Clusters have helped participating small businesses achieve an average employment growth rate of more than five times faster than regional benchmarks, and more than $650 million in Federal contract opportunities.
  • Incentivized regional partners to work together on tech entrepreneurship.  Through its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the i6 Challenge, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $59 million in capacity-building grants that help entrepreneurs in diverse regions of the country move ideas to market, supporting the creation and expansion of research-commercialization centers and early-stage seed-capital funds.  Earlier this month, EDA announced nearly $15 million in Federal funding plus $18 million in matching funds, reaching urban and rural areas in 19 states, including the first RIS investments that support historically black colleges and universities: a direct investment in Clark Atlanta University’s agriculture and food technology commercialization program; and an investment in a program to increase access to early-stage capital in southeast Louisiana, in which Southern University is a partner.  Among the 35 organizations receiving EDA support are a female-focused early-stage capital fund in Texas, a Native American-focused proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma, and urban innovation hubs focused on fashion technology in Brooklyn and on social innovation in New Orleans.
  1. Directly boosted entrepreneurs’ access to capital.  With only three states attracting the majority of venture capital, the Administration has focused on incentivizing investment in startup communities across the country.
  • Catalyzed investments of $8.4 billion through theState Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).  The SSBCI was created through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which provided $1.5 billion to strengthen state programs that support lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.  Administered by the Treasury Department, SSBCI has catalyzed over $8.4 billion in more than 16,900 new loans and investments all across the country.  To date, business owners report more than 190,000 jobs will be created or retained due to the new loans and investments stimulated by SSBCI funds.  More than half of all SSBCI loans or investments went to young businesses less than 5 years old, and over 40 percent of the loans or investments were in low- or moderate-income communities.  Over 30 states have allocated nearly half-a-billion SSBCI dollars to venture-capital programs—a dramatic increase in funding for the programs that are critical to expanding high-growth entrepreneurship into diverse regions around the country.
  • Strengthened investment fund program for small businesses.  The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, run by the SBA, is a multi-billion dollar investment program to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs’ need for capital and traditional sources of financing.  This Administration has created new pathways for impact investment funds that devote growth capital to companies in underserved communities and emerging sectors, as well as for early-stage innovation funds.  The recently announced Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) is a public-private initiative working to expand the presence of underrepresented groups on high-growth company advisory boards, boards of directors, and senior leadership, particularly for those supported by SBICs.
  1. Prioritized inclusive entrepreneurship.As part of the first-ever White House Demo Day in August 2015, 40 leading venture-capital firms with more than $100 billion under management committed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities, and more than a dozen major technology companies committed to new actions to ensure diverse recruitment and hiring.  These actions are complemented by today’s announcements, as well as continued progress by Federal agencies, including:
  • Reduced barriers faced by women entrepreneurs.  SBA created the InnovateHER Business Challenge, where organizations throughout the country hold local competitions for new and innovative products and services to empower women and their families; in 2015, over 1,000 entrepreneurs participated in over 100 competitions, and these numbers doubled in 2016.  Women-owned small businesses reached an important milestone in 2015, meeting the Federal contracting goal for such businesses for the first time in history; overall last year, the Federal government awarded an all-time high of 25.75 percent of government contracts to all small businesses, supporting 537,000 American jobs.
  • Unlocked the potential of Federal inventions with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium partnered together to launch the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3), designed to increase minority business participation in Federal technology transfer.
  • Trained veteran entrepreneurs for 21st century opportunities.  The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation is helping to expand the 3D Veterans Bootcamp, a program that provides Veterans with technical training in 3D printing and design skills to accelerate designs to market.  The training will annually prepare over 400 Veterans and transitioning service members for careers in advanced manufacturing and will provide guidance and resources for those wishing to launch their own business.  Additionally, SBA launched Boots to Business, an entrepreneurship education program that provides transitioning service members with introductory business training and technical assistance.  Since 2013, over 20,000 transitioning service members, including many spouses, participated in the Boots to Business introductory class on over 165 military installations worldwide.
  • Launched TechHire to train people for entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs.  In 2015 the President launched TechHire, a multisector effort to empower more people from all backgrounds with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also innovative nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps,” that can rapidly train workers for technology jobs.  Since then, 50 communities in partnership with over 1,000 employers have initiated local efforts that have placed over 2,000 people into tech jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Expanded entrepreneurial opportunities for the unemployed and underserved. The Department of Labor (DOL) has funded the expansion of voluntary state-run Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) programs, designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own businesses while receiving unemployment insurance benefits; helped make entrepreneurial training available to more than 200,000 low-income and out-of-school youth with barriers to employment; and helped make it easier for formerly incarcerated persons to participate in the SBA’s microloan program.
  1. Created opportunities for promising entrepreneurs and innovators from abroad. While there is no substitute for Congress passing commonsense immigration reform, the Administration is taking the steps it can to fix as much of the broken U.S. immigration system as possible.  Many of these commonsense steps are designed to attract and retain the most talented workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs from around the world.
  • Released a rule tailored for international entrepreneurs. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which describes new ways in which DHS will make it possible for certain promising startup founders to grow their companies within the United States.  Once this rule is finalized, it will provide much-needed clarity for entrepreneurs who have been validated by experienced American funders, and who demonstrate substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation—benefiting American workers and the U.S. economy.
  • Acted to retain more of the scientists and engineers educated in the United States.  American universities train some of the world’s most talented students in science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM), but the broken U.S. immigration system compels many of them to take their skills back to their home countries.  DHS published a final rule on STEM Optional Practical Training allowing international students with qualifying STEM degrees from U.S. universities to extend the time they participate in practical training, while at the same time strengthening oversight and adding new features to the program.
  • Unlocked the talents of high-skilled Americans-in-waiting.  The Administration is making it possible for high-skilled workers on temporary visas to accept promotions, change positions or employers, or start new companies while they and their families wait to receive their green cards, and ultimately become Americans, by the publication of a policy memo on job portability and a final rule improving employment-based visa programs.  In addition, DHS published a new rule that has allowed the spouses of certain high-skilled immigrants to put their own education and talents to work and contribute to the American economy.
  1. Updated securities laws for high-growth companies.Thanks to the bipartisanJumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act signed by the President in 2012, entrepreneurs have greater access to capital from the seed stage all the way to an initial public offering (IPO).  These new capital-formation pathways include:
  • The “IPO on-ramp” makes it easier for qualifying smaller firms to responsibly access public markets.  Thanks in part to the JOBS Act, which phases in regulatory requirements for smaller companies making an initial public offering (IPO), in the year ending in March 2014 smaller IPOs were at their highest level since 2000; one study estimated that the JOBS Act was responsible for a 25 percent increase in IPO activity, including among biotech startups.
  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $50 million through regulated “mini public offerings.”  Through the “Regulation A+” provision of the JOBS Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has qualified around 50 companies to make streamlined public offerings of over $840 million in aggregate—whereas the previous version of this rule was rarely used.
  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million from regular investors through a new class of regulated crowdfunding platforms.  A new, national, SEC-regulated marketplace for securities-based crowdfunding first opened for business 6 months ago; by one measure, these new crowdfunding platforms have allowed startups and small businesses to raise $12 million from over 15,000 regular investors. 
  1. Made the U.S. patent system more efficient and responsive to innovators.The President signed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act in September 2011, giving the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) new resources to significantly reduce patent application wait times.  Total processing times for both patents and trademarks have been reduced by approximately 25 percent and 14 percent, respectively, since 2009.  This reduction has come with both a 50-75 percent reduced cost for startups and small businesses, as well as the creation of a fast track program where applicants can get a final disposition in about 12 months.  In addition, with a series of executive actions, the Administration has taken steps to increase transparency to the patent system and level the playing field for innovators, and leveraged the knowledge of the American people by crowdsourcing information about prior art.  USPTO has also launched an International IP Toolkit to empowerinnovators with tools to facilitate exports and empower global expansions, a Patent Pro Bono Program across all 50 states to provide free legal assistance for inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a patent attorney, and a fast-track review for patents related to cancer treatment as part of Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.
  1. Unleashed entrepreneurship in the industries of the future.  The President has long recognized that it is entrepreneurs in clean energy, medicine, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and other innovative fields who will build the new industries of the 21st century, and solve some of our toughest global challenges.
  • Encouraged private-sector investment in clean-energy innovation.  The Administration has created and promoted new opportunities for clean-energy entrepreneurship, including support for student startups through business plan competitionsvouchers for services available to small businesses at National Laboratories; embedded entrepreneurial training within the National Laboratories; technical assistance and pilot testing at regionally-focused incubators and establishment of a national incubator network to support entrepreneurs and small businesses; and awards through the SunShot Incubator for startups driving down the cost of solar energy.  These opportunities have doubled the number of partnership agreements between small businesses and National Laboratories, and supported hundreds of startups that have attracted well over $3 billion in follow-on funding.
  • Boosted innovation and entrepreneurship in the bioeconomy.  In 2012, theAdministration released the first-ever National Bioeconomy Blueprint, to outline a series of steps to grow and manage a sector that is generating annual revenues greater than $300 billion and that is contributing the equivalent of at least 5 percent of annual U.S. GDP growth.  In 2015, recognizing that navigating the regulatory process for biotechnology products can be unduly challenging, especially for small companies, the Administration initiated an effort to improve transparency and predictability in the regulatory system for biotechnology products.
  • Spurred innovation and entrepreneurship in the commercial space industry. Working with NASA, American companies have developed new spacecraft that are cost-effectively delivering cargo to the International Space Station and are working towards ferrying astronauts there by the end of 2017.  U.S. companies that got their start supporting government missions have increased their share of the global commercial launch market from zero in 2011 to 36 percent in 2015.  Federal agencies are also leveraging innovative procurement methods and creating a supportive regulatory environment to allow space entrepreneurs to pursue ventures in areas such as remote sensing, satellite servicing, asteroid mining, and small satellites.  More venture capital was invested in America’s space industry in 2015 than in all the previous 15 years combined.
  • Grew innovation ecosystems for nanotechnology and advanced materials.  The National Nanotechnology Initiative has invested over $150 million per year in user facilities at Federal laboratories and universities that provide entrepreneurs low- or no-cost access to state-of-the-art instrumentation; cumulatively funded more than $700 million of nanotechnology-related research by small businesses; and catalyzed the creation of a Nano and Emerging Technology Student Network and annual conference with a specific goal of promoting entrepreneurship.  The Materials Genome Initiative, launched in 2011 to reduce the time and cost required to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials, has opened up an array of new data and infrastructure resources to entrepreneurs, including an expanding set of open-access databases to mine the properties of hundreds of thousands of materials.
  • Enabled a new generation of aviation technology for commercial use.  Powering a revolution in unmanned flight, this summer the Administration announcedground rules to govern commercial, scientific, public safety and other non-recreational uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly known as “drones.”  These rules are enabling the safe expansion of a new generation of aviation technologies and startups that will create jobs, enhance public safety, and advance scientific inquiry. Industry estimates suggest that, over the next 10 years, commercial unmanned aircraft systems could generate more than $82 billion for the U.S. economy and by 2025, the industry could be supporting as many as 100,000 new jobs.
  • Supported the growth of advanced robotics.  In 2011, President Obama announced the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) — a multi-agency collaboration to accelerate the development of next-generation robots that can solve problems in areas of national priority, including manufacturing, sustainable agriculture, space and undersea exploration, health, transportation, personal and homeland security, and disaster resiliency and sustainable infrastructure.  The NRI has invested over $135 million in 230 projects in 33 states, fueling the development of new technologies and business opportunities, including robots that can inspect bridgesmonitor water quality, and even aid in future space missions.
  • Supported manufacturing entrepreneurship through a national network of R&D hubs. Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia, and government to co-invest in the development of world-leading manufacturing technologies and capabilities.  In the 4 years since its establishment, Manufacturing USA has grown to a network of nine institutes and over 1,300 members—of which more than one-third are small- and medium-sized enterprises.  These public-private partnerships are catalyzing entrepreneurial activity by, for example, working with regional Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers to help small manufacturers across the nation adopt advanced manufacturing techniques; and blending manufacturing technology and entrepreneurship in project-based learning programs for high schoolers.
  • Stimulated entrepreneurial solutions through increased use of incentive prizes.  Since 2010, more than 100 Federal agencies have engaged 250,000 Americans through more than 700 incentive prizes on Challenge.gov to address tough problems ranging from fighting Ebola, to improving speech recognition, to blocking illegal robocalls. Competitions such as the NIH Breast Cancer Startup Challenge and many more have made over $220 million available to entrepreneurs and innovators and have led to the formation of over 300 startup companies with over $70 million in follow-on funding.
  • Fostered grassroots innovation through the maker movement.  Beginning with the White House Maker Faire in June 2014 and continuing with a National Week of Making in both 2015 and 2016, the Administration has supported a growing grassroots community of makers—Americans using new tools, technologies, and spaces to design, build, and manufacture.  Federal agencies, companies, non-profits, cities, and schools collectively committed to creating over 2,500 maker-oriented spaces in the United States to expand access for both students and entrepreneurs.  Earlier this month, more than 300 organizations from all 50 states, with industry support including Chevron, Cognizant, and Google, came together to launch an independent nonprofit called Nation of Makers, to provide an ongoing community of practice and leadership to the maker movement.

President Obama has also elevated innovation and entrepreneurship as a foreign policy priority beyond America’s borders.  Following his historic 2009 Cairo speech, the President hosted the first Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) at the White House in 2010; since then, annual GES events worldwide have provided over 7,000 emerging entrepreneurs with networking and investment opportunities and catalyzed over $1 billion in private-sector commitments.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative catalyzes private-sector investment and identifies innovative models that help global entrepreneurs bridge the “pioneer gap.”  Working in partnership with more than 40 incubators, accelerators, and seed-stage impact investors worldwide, USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab creates public-private partnerships dedicated to testing ways to foster entrepreneurship, which are expected to leverage $100 million in combined public and private investments. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative is a collaboration among American entrepreneurs, the White House, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies to harness the creativity of U.S. business leaders to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs both at home and abroad.  The Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program has engaged with science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs in 135 emerging economies around the world, providing training and resources to help them build successful startups.

For additional information and progress updates on organizations answering the President’s Call to Action to Advance Entrepreneurship, click HERE.

Obama Administration takes New Actions to Accelerate Deployment of Electric Vehicles; Designates 48 National EV Charging Corridors on Highways

 

The City of San Francisco was an early and strong proponent of coordinated urban and regional climate action, including efforts to decarbonize both the transportation and energy sectors. From 1990 to 2014, carbon emissions declined 24 percent. Already a highly electrified transportation system, with its famous cable cars and street cars, San Francisco is expanding implementation of electric vehicles © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The City of San Francisco was an early and strong proponent of coordinated urban and regional climate action, including efforts to decarbonize both the transportation and energy sectors. From 1990 to 2014, carbon emissions declined 24 percent. Already a highly electrified transportation system, with its famous cable cars and street cars, San Francisco is expanding implementation of electric vehicles © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House issued this statement on actions to accelerate the deployment of Electric Vehicles, including designating 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on highways, as part of its overall commitment to combat climate change – efforts that will likely be undone by the incoming Trump Administration:

The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to combat climate change, increase access to clean energy technologies, and reduce our dependence on oil. Already, in the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70 percent, and we have increased the number of electric vehicle charging stations from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase. But there is more work to do. That is why, today, the Administration is announcing key steps forward to accelerate the utilization of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure needed to support them.

By working together across the Federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work, and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward. Today’s announcements demonstrate a continued partnership between the Administration, states, localities, and the private sector to achieve these shared goals:

  • For the first time, the United State Department of Transportation (DOT) is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on our highways, these newly designated electric vehicle routes cover nearly 25,000 miles, in 35 states.
  • 28 states, utilities, vehicle manufactures, and change organizations are committing to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on the DOT’s corridors;
  • 24 state and local governments are committing to partner with the Administration and increase the procurement of electric vehicles in their fleets;
  • The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting two studies to evaluate the optimal national electric vehicle charging deployment scenarios, including along DOT’s designated fueling corridors; and
  • 38 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities are signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide EV charging access for their workforce.

The announcements build on a record of progress from multiple programs across the Administration that work to scale up EVs and fueling infrastructure, including at the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and with the private sector. This summer, the Administration opened up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities and in collaboration with the Administration, nearly 50 industry members signed on to theGuiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. This effort launched the beginning of a collaboration between the government and industry to increase the deployment of EV charging infrastructure that is carried forward in the announcements.

ADVANCING THE DEPLOYMENT OF ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE ALONG OUR HIGHWAYS 

Establishing 48 National Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors on our Highways: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced 55 Interstates that will serve as the basis for a national network of “alternative fuel” corridors spanning 35 states plus the District of Columbia. Today’s announcement includes designating 48  out of the 55 routes electric vehicle charging corridors, totaling almost 25,000 miles of electric vehicle routes in 35 states. To make it easier for drivers to identify and locate charging stations, states designated as “sign-ready” are authorized to use signs developed by FHWA that identify electric vehicle charging stations and other alternative fuels along the highways similar to existing signage that alerts drivers to gas stations, food, and lodging. Drivers can expect either existing or planned charging stations within every 50 miles.

28 States, Utilities, Vehicle Manufactures, and Change Organizations Commit to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Deployment on DOT’s Corridors: Today, the following organizations are committing to help accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure along the Alternative Fuel Corridors designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  These initial and future corridors will serve as a basis for a national network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to enable coast to coast zero emission mobility on our nation’s highways:

  • Ameren Missouri
  • Berkshire Hathaway Energy
  • BMW
  • ChargePoint
  • Connecticut Green Bank
  • Edison Electric Institute
  • Electric Drive Transportation Association
  • EV Connect
  • Eversource Energy
  • EVgo
  • General Electric
  • General Motors
  • Greenlots
  • Kansas City Power & Light
  • MidAmerican Energy Company
  • New York State
  • Nissan
  • NV Energy
  • Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
  • Pacific Power
  • PlugShare
  • Portland General Electric
  • Public Service Company of New Mexico
  • Rocky Mountain Power
  • Skychargers
  • Southern California Edison
  • Texas-New Mexico Power
  • Vision Ridge Partners

Conducting Two Studies to Evaluate the Optimal National EV Charging Deployment Scenarios: Early next year, DOE plans to publish two studies developed with national laboratories and with input from a range of stakeholders to support broad EV charging infrastructure deployment, including along DOT’s alternative fuel corridors.  The first is a national EV infrastructure analysis that identifies the optimal number of charging stations for different EV market penetration scenarios. The second will provide best practices for EV fast charging installation, including system specifications as well as siting, power availability, and capital and maintenance cost considerations.

Continuing to Partner with Stakeholders to Build Charging Infrastructure Along the National Charging Corridors: The White House will be convening key stakeholders in November 2016 to continue to encourage state and local governments and businesses to build public electric vehicle charging infrastructure along our national highways. 

SUPPORTING STATE AND LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS TO INCREASE THE ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE ROAD  

Partnering with 24 State and Local Governments to Electrify our Vehicle Fleets: Building on the Administration’s policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from Federal Fleets by 30 percent by 2025, today, we are announcing twenty-four state and local governments have joined the Federal government to electrify our fleets. These new commitments will account for over 2,500 new electric vehicles in 2017 alone, and help pave a path for a sustained level of purchases into the future. By working together, Federal, state and local leadership can aggregate demand to lower purchase costs through increasing automotive manufactures’ demand certainty, promote electric vehicle innovation and adoption and expand our national electric vehicle infrastructure. The cumulative benefit of the commitments announced today include more than one million dollars and 1,211,650 gallons in potential annual fuel savings. These state and local government commitments include:

States

  • California state agencies strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and since 2010, GHG emissions from state operations have been cut in half. Incorporating zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) into the state fleet is a central component of the state’s sustainability strategy. Fulfilling a commitment made by Governor Brown in 2012, more than 10 percent of non-public safety light duty vehicles purchased by the State of California in fiscal years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 were zero-emission vehicles. In support of the 2016 ZEV Action Plan, the state commits to increasing the number of non-public safety light duty ZEVs to 50 percent by 2025. To reach that goal, the state will target yearly step increases of 5 percent (beginning in fiscal year 2017/2018), over its current 10 percent purchasing commitment.

Ø  For 2017, the State of California commits to purchase a minimum of 150 ZEVs for its fleet, bringing the total to over 600 ZEVs in the state fleet.

Ø  California commits to providing electric vehicle charging at a minimum of 5 percent of state owned parking spaces by 2020.

  • Minnesota has developed a fleet action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that involves transitioning the state’s predominately internal combustion engine light fleet to a fleet integrating hybrid electric vehicles; plug-in electric hybrid vehicles; and zero emission vehicles. This plan will decrease petroleum consumption by 25 percent and result in a decrease in GHG emissions of 21 percent. Cost savings for fuel and maintenance is expected to be $2.5 million annually. Minnesota has set its commitment as follows:

Ø  Acquire 25 PHEV/ZEVs in Fiscal Year 2017.

Ø  Install 15 Level 2 charging stations in Fiscal Year 2017.

Ø  Require all new vehicles have EPA ratings of 7 or higher.

Ø  Achieve a fleet composition of 20 PHEV or ZEV by 2027.

  • Montana’s State Energy Office commits to swapping out two hybrid vehicles for two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2017. These vehicles will be the first plug-in electric vehicles in Montana’s state fleet and will help Montana better understand how electric vehicles can be incorporated into the fleet as well as the charging infrastructure necessary to support these vehicles. Montana commits to reaching out to local governments and universities about opportunities for electrification from the VW settlement allocation.
  • Vermont commits to convert 50 percent of its state motor pool to plug-in electric vehicles by the end of 2017 which far exceeds the previous level of 38 percent. Vermont is also committing to purchase 10 percent of the total State’s centralized light duty fleet, including agency and department assigned vehicles, as plug-in electric by the end of 2017 which far exceeds the 7 percent accomplished this year. And to install one dedicated charging port for each of these vehicles at the locations where they are parked and assigned to employees for state trips.

o   In 2017, Washington State’s cabinet agencies commit to purchasing 250 EVs and installing 125 new level 2 charging stations. 

Cities

  • The City of Atlanta has reduced GHG emissions 12.5 percent and fossil fuels by 23 percent since 2008. The City commits to further reducing GHG emissions 40 percent by 2030 through the continued addition of zero emission vehicles and electric infrastructure. The City is encouraging public adoption of electric vehicles and is installing charging stations in 100 dedicated EV parking spaces at the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport by the end of 2016. The City commits to convert 20 percent of its municipal fleet to electric vehicles by 2020 through commitments to:

Ø  Construct an additional 300 charging stations at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by the end of 2017.

Ø  Spend $3,000 dollars per electric vehicle for infrastructure installation through December 2018.

Ø  Conduct an education campaign for City employees about efficient usage of electric vehicles and charging stations.

Ø  Procure 200 electric vehicles for its fleets and install the appropriate charging infrastructure over the next three years.

Ø  Add 1,600 new Level 1 and 300 new Level 2 charging stations in the region.

Ø  Add 448 electric vehicles to city’s private fleets.

Ø  In 2017, the City of Fort Collins commits to purchase seven new electric vehicles, some of which will replace standard gasoline engine vehicles.

Ø  Fort Collins will continue to provide an electric charging station for each electric vehicle in the fleet in 2017.

  • The City of Denver is proud to join the White House in making an ambitious commitment to incorporate plug-in electric vehicles into our operations. Denver is leading by example, with the city taking a prominent role in transitioning its operations to more sustainable fuel sources. This action will not only move Denver towards its 2020 sustainability goals and reduce costs, but inspire other businesses, cities and residents to consider how plug-in electric vehicles could work for them. Denver commits to procure and operationalize 200 Plug-in Electric Vehicles and required infrastructure by 2020.
  • The City of Detroit is committed to modernizing its overall fleet through the use of cleaner transportation technologies.  This commitment is reflected in part by new efforts to increase the percentage of city service vehicles that are electric, develop new charging infrastructure, and join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge.  These activities are in-line with the City’s broader sustainable transportation efforts. Detroit commits to:

Ø  Purchase 10 percent of service vehicles as plug-in electric in 2017.

Ø  Set an annual goal of 10 percent of light-duty replacement vehicles purchased be plug-in electric.

Ø  Use Low Speed Electric Vehicles for transit police and safety and security staff.

  • The City of Los Angeles commits to tackle climate change and will procure 50 percent of all new light duty vehicles as battery electric vehicles by 2017 and 80 percent of municipal-fleet procurements as BEVs by 2025.

Ø  LA commits to nearly triple the city’s current plug-in electric fleet from 165 BEVs and 38 PHEVs to over 400 BEVs and 155 PHEVs by the end of 2017. Of those 352, 200 will be for the LA Police Department.

Ø  LA will spend $22.5 million dollars on electric vehicle charging stations by June 2018, which includes making 500 additional public electric vehicle charging stations available throughout the city by the end of 2017, for a total of 1,500.

Ø  LA will launch an EV car share for disadvantaged communities by 2017.

Ø  LA will electrify 10 percent of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation bus fleet by 2017.

Ø  LA will test 20 near-zero emission natural gas tractors at the LA Port and plan for five zero emission plug-in battery yard tractors at the LA Port container terminal.

  • The City of New York commits to invest in at least autonomous 30 solar power carports for charging of City EV fleet citywide and will also provide some public access as part of this initiative and implement over 200 Stealth alternative power units and batteries in City ambulances that will reduce idling and enable these units to charge up through land based EV chargers.
  • The City of Pittsburgh commits to purchase 6 new electric vehicles annually for the next three years. The charging infrastructure for these vehicles will service the public during the day and charge Pittsburgh’s fleet vehicles at night.
  • The City of San Francisco was an early and strong proponent ofcoordinated urban and regional climate action across jurisdictional and national borders, including efforts to decarbonize both the transportation and energy sectors. From 1990 to 2014, carbon emissions declined 24 percent. In The City has a history of transport electrification—foremost in its public transport. San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority operates the City’s historic cable car lines, the nation’s largest fleet of 333 electric trolley buses, plus 151 metro streetcars and 26 historic streetcars. This fleet collectively drives 24.7 percent of the citywide passenger miles traveled and uses clean, greenhouse gas-free electricity from San Francisco’s Hetch Hetchy hydropower system. To date, the City has procured over 60 electric vehicles and 130 charging stations across 20 municipal facilities. Out of San Francisco’s fleet of 5,200 vehicles,

Ø  San Francisco commits to purchase a minimum of 10 percent of new Fleet vehicles annually as electric vehicles.

Ø  San Francisco will continue working with the Pacific Coast Collaborative and West Cost Electric Fleets Initiative to pool resources to lower procurement costs.

  • The City of Seattle is nationally recognized as operating one of the greenest fleets in the country. Seattle was an early investor in fleet electrification, and now operates one of the largest municipal fleet of electric vehicles in the nation.  Drive Clean Seattle is a key piece of the City’s climate action agenda and is a comprehensive commitment to electrify transportation. Seattle commits to a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from the municipal fleet by 2025 and will achieve this in part through committing to:

Ø  Purchase 100 EVs through 2017, to achieve 40 percent electrification of its current light duty fleet.

Ø  Purchase 250 EVs by 2020, with a target of 400 EVs by 2023 to achieve 100 percent of light duty fleet.

Ø  Install 200 electric vehicle charging stations for fleet vehicles in 2017/2018, 300 electric vehicle charging stations by 2020 and 400 electric vehicle charging stations by 2023.

Ø  Work with Original Equipment Manufacturers to participate in fleet demonstrations of EV technology in medium and heavy duty vehicles over the next five years.

Ø  Sign on to the U.S. DOE Workplace Charging Challengeand write a new workplace charging policy in 2017.

Municipalities

  • Arlington County, Virginia is committed to a 76 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, including transportation, by 2050. To that end, Arlington County commits to ensuring five percent of vehicle-miles traveled by County fleet sedans be in electric vehicles by 2020. 
  • Boulder County commits to:

Ø  Replace 5 sedans with electric vehicles and 9 sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with hybrid SUVs by 2020.

Ø  Offer aggregated purchase programs for EVs to our residents and employees in 2017 and 2018 for volume discounts.

Ø  Install 4 electric charging stations by 2020.

Support workplace charging, and continuing to offer our employees, residents and businesses education, incentives and advising on EVs and sustainable transportation.

  • The Monterey County Board of Supervisors adopted a Municipal Climate Action Plan (MCAP) in 2013 outlining the Board’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2005 emission levels by 2020. In Fiscal year 2015-2016 the county is at 52 percent of its GHG goal in part, through the purchasing of 12 electric vehicles.

Ø  In Fiscal Year 17 Monterey County commits to installing 2 new electric vehicle charging stations.

Ø  By year-end 2017, expand electric and plug-in electric vehicle fleet to 27 sedans, 21 trouble trucks with electrified buckets and 16 electric lift trucks.

Ø  Given product availability, by 2020, have a fleet comprised of 45 BEV/PHEV sedans, 7 PHEV SUVs, 30 PHEV pickup trucks, 16 pickup trucks with zero RPM idle reduction technology, 50 trouble trucks with electrified buckets, 4 cable pullers and 26 lift trucks.

Ø  By the end of 2017, add 15 Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations and 45 Level 1.

Ø  Increase workplace charging participation from 32 to 60 by the end of 2017

Ø  Increase workplace charging participation from 110 by the end of 2020

Ø  Purchase 10 new electric vehicles (approximately 15 percent of non-specialized vehicle purchases).

Ø  Install a minimum of two new electric vehicle charging stations.

Ø  In future years, the county anticipates to further green its fleet by either maintaining or accelerating the commitments outlined for 2017.

  • Sonoma County in California is continuing its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through integrating plug-in electric vehicles into the County’s Fleet, expanding the electric vehicle charging infrastructure necessary to support these vehicles and encouraging public adoption of the technology. Since 2002 the County has achieved reductions in fuel usage of 191,417 gallons and 1,701.1 metric tons of CO2 produced.  Sonoma County commits to:

Ø  Purchase 20 new electric vehicles for the County fleet by the end of 2017 and 6 new electric vehicles by the end of 2019.

Ø  Install 23 new Fleet-use only electric vehicle charging ports by 2018 and 12 public electric vehicle charging ports spanning 3 different sites by 2018.

  • Ulster County, New York, has committed to reducing GHG emissions from County government operations 25 percent by 2025. In order to reach this goal, Ulster is electrifying their fleet while simultaneously supporting the deployment of electric vehicles throughout the region. In 2015, Ulster County passed aGreen Fleet Policy requiring 5 percent of the fleet be alternative fuel vehicles by 2020. Ulster County will meet its 5 percent goal in 2017, three years ahead of the 2020 target. After 2020, Ulster commits to purchase 20 percent of new fleet vehicles on an annual basis as alternative fuel or green vehicles. Toward their effort of implementing this policy, Ulster County has deployed 4 PHEV sedans and ordered 4 additional PHEVs in 2016. The county commits to purchase an additional 10 PHEVs and 1 BEV in 2017. Ulster County has been a partner in the U.S. DOE Workplace Charging Challenge since 2015 and offers free workplace charging to 97% of its employees. The County commits to continuing to support tourists and its employees and install an additional six electric vehicle charging stations in 2017.