Tag Archives: Obama Administration

Setting the Record Straight: 8 Years of Labor Market Progress under Obama


Eight Years of Labor Market Progress and the Employment Situation in December

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement  on the employment situation in December and reviewing eight years of job growth including the longest streak of total job growth on record, adding 15.8 million jobs.

Summary: The economy added 156,000 jobs in December, extending the longest streak of total job growth on record, with U.S. businesses adding 15.8 million jobs over the recovery.

Employment grew at a solid rate of 156,000 jobs in December as the longest streak of total job growth by far on record continued. Average hourly earnings for private employees increased 2.9 percent in 2016, the fastest twelve-month pace since the financial crisis. U.S. businesses have now added 15.8 million jobs since early 2010 amid the U.S. economy’s strong recovery from its worst crisis since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate—4.7 percent in December—has been cut by more than half since its peak, falling much faster and further than expected, and nearly all measures of labor underutilization have fallen below their pre-recession averages. Real wages have grown faster over the current business cycle than in any since the early 1970s, and in 2015 U.S. households saw the largest increase in real median income on record. Since 2010, the United States has put more people back to work than all other G-7 economies combined. Thanks in part to the forceful response to the crisis and policies throughout the eight years of the Obama Administration to promote robust, shared growth, the U.S. economy is stronger, more resilient, and better positioned for the 21st century than ever before. Even with this remarkable progress, it remains important to build on these efforts to support further job creation and real wage growth in the years ahead.


1. U.S. businesses have now added 15.8 million jobs since private-sector job growth turned positive in early 2010. Today, we learned that private employment rose by 144,000 jobs in December. Total nonfarm employment rose by 156,000 jobs, slightly below the monthly average for 2016 as a whole but 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. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7 percent in December, less than half its peak during the recession, while the labor force participation rate—which has been largely unchanged over the past three years despite downward pressure from demographic trends—increased to 62.7 percent. Average hourly earnings for all private workers increased 2.9 percent over the past year, the fastest twelve-month pace since the end of the recession and above the pace of inflation in 2016.

2. Since job growth turned positive in October 2010, the U.S. economy has added jobs for 75 straight months—the longest streak of job growth on record and more than two years longer than the next-longest streak. Over this period, nonfarm employment growth has averaged a robust 199,000 jobs a month. On a calendar-year basis, the pace of job growth peaked at 251,000 jobs a month in 2014, the best year for job creation since the 1990s. In 2016, job growth remained strong, averaging 180,000 jobs a month. As of December 2016, total nonfarm employment exceeded its pre-recession peak by 6.9 million jobs. All of the net job creation in the current recovery has been in the private sector, as private-sector payroll employment exceeded its pre-recession peak by 7.0 million jobs as of December.

3. The unemployment rate has been cut by more than half since its peak in 2009, falling much faster and further than expected. After peaking at 10.0 percent in October 2009, the unemployment rate fell rapidly over the course of the recovery, and by mid-2015 had recovered fully to its pre-recession average. Since then, it has fallen even further, standing at 4.7 percent at the end of 2016. The rapid decline in the unemployment rate came far more quickly than most economists predicted: as recently as March 2014, private forecasters expected the unemployment rate to remain above 5.0 percent until at least 2020.

4. Real hourly wages have grown faster over the current business cycle than in any cycle since the early 1970s. In recent years, American workers have seen sustained real wage gains, as hourly earnings have grown faster than inflation. The chart below plots the average annual growth of real hourly earnings for private production and nonsupervisory workers—a group comprising about four-fifths of private nonfarm employment—over each business cycle, including both recessions and recoveries. (Economists prefer comparing across entire business cycles, as they generally represent economically comparable periods.) Since the beginning of the current business cycle in December 2007, real wages have grown at a rate of 0.8 percent a year, faster than in any other cycle since 1973.

5. Since the end of 2012, real wages for non-managerial workers have grown nearly 18 times faster than they did from 1980 to 2007. In fact, since the end of 2012, real wages for private production and nonsupervisory workers have grown over 5 percent cumulatively, more than double their 2.1-percent total growth from the business cycle peak in 1980 to the business cycle peak in 2007—a sign of the remarkable progress made by American families in the current recovery after years of slow growth in wages.

6. Robust real wage growth and strong employment growth have translated into rising real incomes for households, with the largest gains going to low- and middle-income families. From 2014 to 2015, real median household income increased by $2,800, or 5.2 percent, the largest annual increase on record. Gains were even larger in the lower half of the income distribution, ranging from an increase of 5.5 percent for households at the 40th percentile to an increase of nearly 8 percent for households at the 10th percentile. While households in the top half of the income distribution also saw increases, their gains were smaller, with an increase of 2.9 percent at the 90thpercentile of household income. Growth in both real wages and employment in 2016 point to continued gains in real incomes for American households.

7. On net, essentially all of the increase in employment over the recovery has been in full-time jobs. As measured by the household survey, U.S. employment reached a trough in December 2009. Since then, full-time employment has increased by 13.7 million. In contrast, part-time employment has increased by just 420,000 over the course of the recovery.

8. Broader measures of labor underutilization have also steadily improved, and all but one are below their pre-recession averages. The headline unemployment rate, the U-3 rate, includes unemployed persons who have looked for work in the last four weeks. Broader measures of labor underutilization each include a progressively larger group of individuals: U-4 counts discouraged workers in addition to the unemployed, U-5 adds in others who are marginally attached to the labor force, and U-6 also includes people working part-time who would prefer a full-time job (“part-time for economic reasons”). Like the headline unemployment rate, all of these measures saw large increases during the recession, with the U-6 rate in particular reaching a record high. However, U-3, U-4, and U-5 all recovered fully to their respective pre-recession averages in the summer of 2015 and have fallen further since. As of December, the U-6 rate was just 0.1 percentage point above its pre-recession average.

9. Real average hourly wages have risen in every major industry over the current business cycle—and in nearly all, the pace of increase has been faster than in the previous cycle. Since the beginning of the current business cycle, real wages for non-managerial workers have grown at an average rate of 0.8 percent a year. However, this average masks considerable variation in real wage growth among workers in different industries. As the chart below shows, workers in all major sectors have seen real increases in their hourly earnings, ranging from average gains of 0.1 percent a year for workers in the transportation and warehousing industry to gains of 1.7 percent a year for workers in the financial activities sector. For nearly all major industries, real wage gains so far in the current business cycle have outpaced gains in the 2000s business cycle.

10. Unemployment rates for all major demographic groups have recovered to below their respective pre-recession averages, though more work remains to close longstanding disparities in the labor market. The unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans peaked at 16.8 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively, after experiencing larger percentage-point increases from their pre-recession averages than the overall unemployment rate did. By mid-2015, both the African-American and Hispanic-American unemployment rates had recovered to their respective pre-recession averages. Similarly, the unemployment rates for white Americans and for Asian Americans, which have historically tended to be lower than the overall unemployment rate, have more than recovered to their pre-recession averages. Still, the fact that the unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans are much higher than the overall unemployment rate is a reminder that much more work remains to ensure that the benefits of the strong labor market are shared among all Americans, including through efforts like the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

11. Initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) have been below 300,000 for 96 consecutive weeks, the longest such streak since 1970. During the Great Recession, claims for unemployment insurance—which are an important leading indicator of recessions—rose sharply to near-record highs. However, they have since declined to well below their pre-recession average, and average weekly initial claims in 2016 were the lowest of any calendar year since 1973. Still, the share of unemployed workers eligible for unemployment insurance has fallen in recent years, in part as a result of reductions in coverage within States’ UI programs. A number of reforms—including several in the President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget—would build on the strengths of the UI system to ensure that it both provides effective assistance for those who lose a job through no fault of their own and helps to stabilize the U.S. economy during future downturns.

12. Two-thirds of States have seen their unemployment rates fall below their pre-recession averages. There was extremely wide variation in the effect of the Great Recession on unemployment rates across States and the District of Columbia, with increases ranging from nearly 200 percent (Nevada) to just 13 percent (Alaska) of their respective pre-recession averages. As of November 2016, however, 34 States and the District of Columbia have seen their unemployment rates recover fully, with a number of States seeing unemployment rates substantially below their pre-recession averages. The sixteen States that still have elevated unemployment rates include the six that saw the largest percentage increases in their unemployment rates in the recession.

13. Since 2010, the United States has put more people back to work than all the other G-7 economies combined. The rebound of the U.S. economy from the Great Recession occurred much faster than in most other advanced economies and compares favorably with the historical record of countries recovering from systemic financial crises. As shown in the chart below, the United States has been responsible for a disproportionate share of employment growth in the G-7 economies during the recovery. Although the United States comprises about two-fifths of total employment in the G-7, it has been responsible for more than 55 percent of the net employment growth since 2010, a further sign of the strength and resilience of the U.S. economy and the importance of the policies of the last eight years in putting it on a sounder footing.

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.

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.


5 Years of Joining Forces: A Progress Report and Call to Action to Support Military, Veterans and their Families

Veterans salute flag during Memorial Day event in North Hempstead, Long Island, NY.  In five years, Joining Forces, a signature issue for First Lady Michelle Obama, has led to the hiring or training of more than 1.4 million veterans and military spouses, ended veteran homelessness in states across the country, and provided 60,000 military-connected students with support and educational opportunities © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Veterans salute flag during Memorial Day event in North Hempstead, Long Island, NY. In five years, Joining Forces, a signature issue for First Lady Michelle Obama, has led to the hiring or training of more than 1.4 million veterans and military spouses, ended veteran homelessness in states across the country, and provided 60,000 military-connected students with support and educational opportunities © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Since April 2011, Joining Forces, a signature initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, has led to the hiring or training of more than 1.4 million veterans and military spouses, ended veteran homelessness in states across the country, and provided 60,000 military-connected students with support and educational opportunities. On the final Veterans Day of the Obama Administration, the White House offered a progress report:

Joining Forces is a nationwide initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in April 2011 to call upon all Americans to support service members, veterans, and their families through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works to inspire, educate and encourage action from both the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.

The last Veteran’s Day of this Administration provides an opportunity to celebrate the progress Joining Forces has made in bringing attention to the unique strengths and needs of America’s military families, while highlighting their skills, experience and dedication—encouraging greater connections between the American public and the military that will continue into the future. 


Since the launch of Joining Forces, the unemployment rate for our 9/11 generation of veterans has been reduced from more than 12 percent to lower than the national average today. Employers ranging from smaller start-ups to some of the largest corporations in the world have hired or trained more than 1.5 million veterans and military spouses. In May 2016, the First Lady announced commitments to hire and train 170,000 new veteran and military spouse in high-growth sectors, including aerospace, telecommunications and technology. In addition, 15 companies and organizations have committed to lead training programs, sponsor scholarships, and support certification courses for more than 60,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

In addition, the creation of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a network that now includes more than 335 companies, has led to the hiring of 100,000 military spouses through postings on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Career Portal and mentoring of military spouses. The Partnership also provides employment data on military spouses hired.

Joining Forces also issued a call to action to all 50 U.S. governors to take executive and/or legislative action to streamline state licensing for the military community, and today, all 50 states have taken action to support the military community by making it easier for military spouses to overcome barriers to employment. In collaboration with state legislators and regulators, Joining Forces and the U.S. Department of Defense have helped states adopt simple measures to accommodate the demands of the military and support military spouses as they seek to continue their careers. 


Since 2011, more than 100 colleges and universities have signed the “Educate the Educators” commitment, which prepares educators to lead classrooms and develop cultures that are more responsive to the social, emotional, and academic needs of military-connected children. In addition, all 50 states have signed on to the Military Child Education Compact, which focuses on the inequities facing school children of military parents when they are required to relocate across state lines.

In April 2014, Dr. Biden helped launch the VA GI Bill Comparison Tool, a website that allows service members and dependents using the GI Bill to research tuition and fees, housing allowances and book stipends, as well as graduation rates and loan default rates for each school so that they may make an informed decision on next steps.

In April of 2016, the National Math and Science Initiative’s (NMSI) College Readiness Program fulfilled a commitment made during the launch of Joining Forces in 2011 to expand into 200 military-connected schools, providing more than 60,000 military-connected students with the support and educational opportunities they deserve.Through its College Readiness Program, NMSI is broadening access to rigorous AP coursework in math, science, and English and equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to graduate from high school ready for college and the STEM-intensive careers of the 21st century.


To call upon cities, counties and states to commit to ending and preventing homelessness among veterans in their communities, the First Lady issued The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in June 2014. As a result, 35 communities and the states of Connecticut and Virginia have effectively ended veteran homelessness.

The First Lady also launched the Campaign to Change Direction in March 2015—a nationwide mental health public awareness campaign to promote education and awareness of mental health issues affecting the military community. The Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to change America’s perception of mental health, mental illness, and wellness. More than 230 partner organizations have joined the campaign.

In addition, more than 100 Association of American Medical College (AAMC)-member medical schools across the country signed a pledge recognizing the sacrifice and commitment of current and returning military service members. AAMC and the Center for Deployment Psychology now produce Joining Forces Wellness Week, a week-long series of interactive trainings for clinical and non-clinical wellness professionals focused on specific health and wellness issues of veterans, service members, and their families.

White House Announces New Actions to Help More Americans Manage Student Debt

The Obama Administration is implementing programs to ease the student debt crisis © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Obama Administration is implementing programs to ease the student debt crisis © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The issue of student debt has been a key one on the Democratic side of the presidential campaign (not the Republicans who like to accentuate the stress without actually doing anything about it), but the Obama Administration has been taking what actions it can – in face of Republican obstruction in Congress to accomplish anything that would improve the lives of working Americans- to help Americans manage their student debt. The White House issued a Fact Sheet detailing these actions.

Higher education is one of the most important investment individuals can make for themselves and for our country. Today, 11 of the 15 fastest-growing occupations require a postsecondary education. That’s why the President has made historic investments to help millions of Americans afford college by doubling investments in grant and scholarship aid through Pell grants and tax credits, keeping interest rates low on federal student loans, and creating better options to help borrowers manage debt after college like the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) plan.

As detailed in a new post on student debt trends and state-by-state data being released by the Council of Economic Advisers, these efforts are paying off. More students are graduating college than ever before. More than four of five Direct Loan recipients with loans in repayment are current on their loans. Delinquencies, defaults, and hardship deferments are all trending downward, with nearly three million borrowers successfully accessing a pathway out of default through loan rehabilitation since 2010. And more students are taking action on their student debt when they need support, with nearly five million Direct Loan borrowers taking advantage of repayment options like the President’s PAYE plan, which caps monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of income, up from 700,000 enrolled in 2011.

Many students access student loans to help finance their education; typically, that investment pays off, with bachelor’s degree recipients earning $1 million more in their lifetime and associate’s degree recipients earning $360,000 more, compared to their high school counterparts. But for some, burdensome student loan debt can present a challenge as they seek to start a career, raise a family, purchase a home, start a business, or save for retirement.

Guaranteeing strong consumer protections and building a system of high-quality customer service are important components of a federal student loan system that expands college opportunity and provides reassurance to American families that pursuing a college degree and responsibly borrowing to pay for college will not threaten their future financial security.

The White House has just announced new actions while highlighting the progress already made to help ensure the more than 40 million Americans with student loan debt understand their repayment options and access high-quality customer service, strong consumer protections, and targeted support to repay their student debt successfully.

New Actions on Student Debt 

Over the past few years, the Administration has stepped up efforts to ensure that flexible repayment options are available to support Americans with federal student debt. Today’s actions build on that progress and provide a roadmap to guide and support borrowers as they seek to manage and repay their debt successfully:

  • New Goal to Enroll 2 million More Borrowers in Plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE).The President’s PAYE and related income-driven repayment plans are available to help borrowers who may be struggling to manage their debt effectively. Yet, too many borrowers still do not know about this important option. Leveraging key improvements in loan servicing and customer service, better tools and resources, targeted outreach to borrowers, and partnerships with key external organizations under the Student Debt Challenge, the Administration is announcing a new goal to enroll two million more borrowers in plans like PAYE by this time next year. 
  • Launch of StudentLoans.gov/Repay. To help borrowers easily navigate the complexity of student loan repayment options, the U.S. Digital Service and the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid have launchedStudentLoans.gov/Repay to help drive students to their best repayment option in five steps or less. Built mobile-first, and using human-centered design,StudentLoans.gov/Repay was designed to make repayment information as easy to understand as possible. 
  • Strengthening Consumer Protections through New Standards for Student Loan Servicing. The Department of Education and Department of the Treasury – after consulting with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and their work with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and other state attorneys’ general – have developed clear student loan borrower rights and protections in three key areas: (1) providing accurate and actionable information about account features, borrower protections, and loan terms; (2) establishing a clear set of expectations for minimum requirements for communication and services provided by student loan servicers, including adequate and timely customer service; and (3) holding servicers accountable for fixing errors, being responsive to borrowers, and resolving problems by ensuring that borrowers, federal and state agencies and regulators, and law enforcement officials have access to appropriate channels of recourse when violations of federal or state consumer financial laws occur. The Department of Education will ensure all borrowers with federal Direct Loans can rely on high-quality service in line with these standards and protections. The Department of Education will implement this effort as part of its new vision for servicing student loans.    
  • Better Information to Help Borrowers Take Action on their Debt: CFPB Prototype Student Loan Payback Playbook. The CFPB is seeking comment on a new set of student loan servicing disclosures—a student loan Payback Playbook – that provides borrowers personalized information to better understand their repayment options and find a monthly payment they can afford. To help borrowers choose the best repayment plan with the most up-to-date information based on their circumstances, borrowers would see a plain language Playbook on their monthly bill, in regular email communications from their student loan servicer, or when they log into their student loan account. The Department of Education, working with the CFPB, will be finalizing and implementing these disclosures for federal loans borrowers. 
  • Ensuring Effective Student Loan Counseling. The Department of Education will work to improve the timing and content of current loan counseling efforts, including statutorily required entrance and exit counseling, to help students make better borrowing decisions, increase college completion, promote successful loan repayment, and reduce delinquencies and defaults. Specifically, the Department will upgrade and redesign its Entrance and Exit Counseling tools on StudentLoans.gov – which serves 6.5 million students a year – based on user analytics and direct input from more than 500 borrowers, financial aid administrators, policymakers, and higher education organizations. The Department is also developing a loan counseling experiment to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of different counseling tools and the impact of offering borrowers more frequent information and guidance beyond the statutorily required one-time entrance and one-time exit counseling.
  • Leveraging Research to Drive Better Student Outcomes. The Department of Education will pilot Advancing Insights through Data (AID), a research partnership program that will offer other federal agencies and affiliated researchers data access to conduct research that can inform and advance policies and practices that support students’ postsecondary success and strengthen repayment outcomes for borrowers. Starting with Federal Reserve Board researchers this fall, the program will allow experts to apply to securely access and match administrative student aid data files with other survey and administrative data, while ensuring safeguards are in place to protect the privacy of students and families. AID builds on the Administration’s recent efforts to leverage government data in ways that can improve service delivery, promote transparency, and strengthen accountability, particularly through the College Scorecard, which includes the most comprehensive, reliable data ever published on students’ post-college earnings and repayment outcomes. The Department is also exploring future opportunities for new research partnerships.
  • Modernizing Credit Reporting for Student Loans To Ensure Fair Treatment Of BorrowersThe Department of Education and the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the CFPB, are working collaboratively with the credit reporting industry to develop guidance for servicers, lenders, and others who furnish data to the credit bureaus to determine how best to report student loan data so that it is fair, consistent, and accurately reflects repayment activity. This effort is another critical part of the Department’s new vision for servicing student loans.
  • Over 40 new student debt challenge takers.Earlier this month, the White House issued a call to action for colleges, universities, non-profits, businesses, state and local governments, and other employers to help more borrowers better understand their options, and to take action to enroll those borrowers in PAYE and related plans so they can manage their monthly payments and avoid delinquency and default. There is a growing list of commitments from organizations working to inform their employees and members about PAYE and related plans, train human resources (HR) staff on the importance of helping borrowers understand their student loan repayment options and the steps individuals must take to enroll, and use digital platforms to highlight PAYE and related plans. In the few short weeks since the Debt Challenge was launched, there have been over 40 commitment makers, and the Administration is encouraging more colleges, businesses, non-profits to take action. As of April 26, the list of commitments includes:

o   ACCESS College Foundation


o   Achieving the Dream

o   American Student Assistance

o   American Sustainable Business Council

o   California State University, Long Beach

o   California Association of Nonprofits

o   The Century Foundation

o   College Advising Corps

o   College Forward

o   College Greenlight

o   Dyersburg State Community College

o   Florida International University

o   Friendship Public Charter School

o   Indiana University

o   Iowa State University

o   Jobs for the Future

o   Lake Area Technical Institute

o   Lone Star College

o   Marcus Foster Education Institute

o   Marks and Associates

o   Montana State University Bozeman

o   Morgan State University

o   National Housing Resource Center

o   Natixis Global Asset Management

o   New Haven Promise

o   Operation HOPE, Inc.

o   Parkway School District

o   Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District

o   Rutgers University – Newark

o   Tennessee Technological University

o   University of Pittsburgh

o   University of Memphis

o   University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

o   The Institute for College Access and Success

o   The State University of New York

o   University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

o   University of Northern Iowa

o   United Tribes Technical College

o   Valencia College

o   Young Invincibles

Obama Administration Fact Sheet: What Climate Change Means for Your Health and Family

Extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy which hit Breezy Point, Queens, NY, exacerbated by climate change impact public health physically and mentally © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy which hit Breezy Point, Queens, NY, exacerbated by climate change impact public health physically and mentally © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CDC researchers have just concluded that that the virus damages fetal development, resulting in microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies. No other mosquito-borne virus has ever caused birth defects.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the public health impacts already being caused by climate change. That’s because changing climate is expanding the habitat for mosquitoes that carry the Zika Virus, Lyme disease and other issues.

Delivering on another commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration released a new final report called The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, which significantly advances what we know about the impacts of climate change on public health, and the confidence with which we know it.

Developed over three years by 100 experts in climate-change science and public health – including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) – the Climate and Health Assessment reinforces that climate change is a significant threat to the health of Americans not just in the future but right now. As the climate continues to change, the risks to human health will grow, exacerbating existing health threats and creating new public health challenges, and impacting more people in more places. From children to the elderly to pregnant women and the disabled, every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change, now and in the future. A few examples of the increased health risks found in the assessment include:

         Air pollution and airborne allergens will likely increase, worsening allergy and asthma conditions. Future ozone-related human health impacts attributable to climate change are projected to lead to hundreds to thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions, and cases of acute respiratory illnesses each year in the United States by 2030, including increases in asthma episodes and other adverse respiratory effects in children. Ragweed pollen season is longer now in central North America, having increased by as much as 11 to 27 days between 1995 and 2011, which impacts some of the nearly 6.8 million children in the United States affected by asthma and susceptible to allergens due to their immature respiratory and immune systems.

         Extreme heat can be expected to cause an increase in the number of premature deaths, from thousands to tens of thousands, each summer, which will outpace projected decreases in deaths from extreme cold. One model projected an increase, from a 1990 baseline for more than 200 American cities, of more than an additional 11,000 deaths during the summer in 2030 and more than an additional 27,000 deaths during the summer in 2100.

         Warmer winter and spring temperatures are projected to lead to earlier annual onset of Lyme disease cases in the eastern United States and a generally northward expansion of ticks capable of carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Between 2001 and 2014, both the distribution and the number of reported cases of Lyme disease increased in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

         Increase the risks of water-related illnesses. Runoff from more frequent and intense extreme precipitation events, and increased water temperatures, will increasingly compromise recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, and sources of drinking water, increasing risks of waterborne illness.

         Climate change, including rising temperatures and changes in weather extremes, is expected to increase the exposure of food to certain pathogens and toxins. Rising temperature and increases in flooding, runoff events, and drought will likely lead to increases in the occurrence and transport of pathogens in agricultural environments, which will increase the risk of food contamination and human exposure to pathogens and toxins. This will increase health risks and require greater vigilance in food safety practices and regulation.

         Climate change will have the largest health impact on vulnerable populations including those with low incomes, some communities of color, limited English proficiency and immigrant groups, Indigenous peoples, children, pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with preexisting or chronic medical conditions.

         Extreme weather and other events related to climate change will impact health by exacerbating underlying medical conditions, increasing exposure to food-borne and waterborne illness risks, and disrupting infrastructure, including power, water, transportation, and communication systems, that are essential to maintaining access to health care and emergency response services and safeguarding human health.

In addition, the Administration has announced a number of actions to respond to the critical challenges and vulnerabilities outlined in the Climate and Health Assessment. These include:

         Expanding the scope of the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children to focus on the impacts of climate change on children’s health.

         Developing K-12 educational materials on climate change and health.

         A Climate-Ready Tribes and Territories Initiative, which will provide awards for tribal and territorial health departments to investigate, prepare for, and adapt to the health effects of climate change.

         An update to the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Toolkit,issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

         Designating May 23-27, 2016, as Extreme Heat Week, during which Federal agencies will take a number of actions to work with community planners and public-health officials to enhance community preparedness for extreme heat events.


The findings of the Climate and Health Assessment strengthen and broaden the scientific foundation for future decision making, allowing individuals, communities, organizations, and governments to proactively manage the health risks of climate change.  A better understanding of how climate change affects our health, and the health of our children and grandchildren, underscores the need for urgent action to combat the threats climate change poses on American citizens and communities.

Already, under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has done more to combat climate change and protect the health of communities than ever before. For example, the Clean Power Plan will deliver better air quality, improved public health, clean energy investment and jobs across the country. Since the historic global climate agreement was reached at COP21 in Paris last year (signed on Earth Day at the United Nations), the United States has announced plans to not only implement the agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but has also committed to adopting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would phase down HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas. The Administration has forged a global agreement to cut aviation emissions, and most recently taken a series of actions to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, while also helping to spur a historic increase in wind and solar energy while doubling the fuel efficiency in our cars.



Changes in Extreme Heat and Extreme Cold.  A warmer future is projected to lead to “on the order of thousands to tens of thousands of additional premature deaths per year across the United States by the end of this century” from heat.  Any reduction in cold-related deaths is projected to be smaller than the increase in heat-related deaths in most regions. High temperatures can also lead to a wide range of illnesses. Examples of illnesses associated with extreme heat include cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal illnesses; diabetes; hyperthermia; mental health issues; and preterm births.  Even small differences from seasonal average temperatures result in illness and death.  An increased risk for respiratory and cardiovascular death is observed in older adults during temperature extremes.

Impacts on Air Quality. Changes in the climate affect the levels and location of outdoor air pollutants such as ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter.  These changes in ozone are projected to lead to hundreds to thousands of premature deaths, hospital admissions, and cases of acute respiratory illnesses per year in the United States in 2030.  In addition, the area burned by wildfires in North America is expected to increase dramatically over the 21st century due to climate change.  Air pollution from wildfires can affect people far downwind from the fire location,increasing the risk of premature death and hospital and emergency department visits.  Higher temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide levels also promote the growth of plants that release airborne allergens.

More Frequent and Intense Extreme Events.  Climate change will expose more people to increases in the frequency and/or intensity of drought, wildfires, and flooding related to extreme precipitation and hurricanes.  Many types of extreme events related to climate change cause disruption of critical infrastructure, including power, water, transportation, and communication systems, that are essential to maintaining access to health care and emergency response services and safeguarding human health.  Health risks may also arise long after the event, or in places outside the area where the event took place, particularly if multiple events occur simultaneously or in succession in a given location – this could be the result of damage to property, destruction of assets, loss of infrastructure and public services, social and economic disruption, and environmental degradation. Poverty also is a key risk factor, and the poor are disproportionately affected by extreme events.

Altered Timing and Location of Vector-Borne Disease. Climate change is expected to alter the geographic and seasonal distributions of existing vectors and vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus infections, and other diseases spread by vectors like mosquitoes. Rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and a higher frequency of some extreme weather events associated with climate change will influence the distribution, abundance, and prevalence of infection in the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus, the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States.  Outdoor workers are at a greater risk for contracting Lyme disease and, if working in areas where there are infected mosquitoes, occupational exposures can also occur for West Nile virus.

Increased Risks of Water-Related Illnesses.  Runoff from more frequent and intense extreme precipitation events will increasingly compromise recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, and sources of drinking water, increasing the risk that infrastructure for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater will fail due to either damage or exceeding system capacity. Although the United States has one of the safest municipal drinking water supplies in the world, water-related outbreaks still occur—between 1948 and 1994, 68 percent of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States were preceded by extreme precipitation events. Inequities in exposure to contaminated water disproportionately affects tribes and Alaska Natives, residents of low-income rural subdivisions along the U.S.–Mexico border, migrant farm workers, the homeless, and low-income communities not served by public water utilities—some of which are predominately Hispanic or Latino and African-American communities.

Increased Threats to Food Safety and Nutrition.  As climate change drives changes in environmental variables, such as ambient temperature, precipitation, and weather extremes (particularly flooding and drought), increases in foodborne illnesses are expected. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses per year, with approximately 3,000 deaths.  Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can actually lower the nutritional value of most food crops. Climate-change impacts on food production, food processing and utilization, food prices, and agricultural trade were recently addressed in a separate assessment report on Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System.

Adverse Impacts on Mental Health.  The cumulative and interactive effects of climate change, as well as the threat and perception of climate change, adversely impact individual and societal physical and mental health and well-being.  Mental health consequences of climate change range from minimal stress and distress symptoms to clinical disorders, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  The mental health impacts of extreme events, such as hurricanes, floods, and drought, can be expected to increase as more people experience the stress—and often trauma—of these disasters.  People with mental illness and those using medications to treat a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events and extreme heat. 

Disproportionate Effects on Vulnerable Populations.  Every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change.  People at every life stage have varying sensitivity to climate change impacts.  The most vulnerable populations include individuals with low income, some communities of color, individuals with limited English proficiency and immigrant groups, Indigenous peoples, children, pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, persons with disabilities, and persons with preexisting or chronic medical conditions.

  •         Communities of Color, Low Income, Immigrants, and Limited-English-Proficiency Groups. Vulnerable populations are at increased risk of exposure given their higher likelihood of living in risk-prone areas (such as urban heat islands, isolated rural areas, or coastal and other flood-prone areas), areas with older or poorly maintained infrastructure, or areas with an increased burden of air pollution. Communities of color, low income, immigrant and limited-English-proficiency groups also experience relatively greater incidence of chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular and kidney disease, diabetes, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which can be exacerbated by climate-related health impacts.
  •        Indigenous Peoples in the United States.  Because of existing vulnerabilities, Indigenous people, especially those who are dependent on the environment for sustenance or who live in geographically isolated or impoverished communities, are likely to experience greater exposure and lower resilience to climate-related health effects.
  •          Pregnant Women. Climate-related exposures may lead to adverse pregnancy and newborn health outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth, dehydration and associated renal failure, diarrhea, and respiratory disease.  Estimates indicated that there were more than 56,000 pregnant women and nearly 75,000 infants directly affected by Hurricane Katrina and that pregnant women with high hurricane exposure and severe hurricane experiences were at a significantly increased risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
  •          Children. Climate change—interacting with factors such as economic status, diet, living situation, and stage of development—will increase children’s exposure to health threats. Children are vulnerable to adverse health effects associated with environmental exposures due to factors related to their immature physiology and metabolism, their unique exposure pathways, their biological sensitivities, and limits to their adaptive capacity.  Children have a proportionately higher intake of air, food, and water relative to their body weight compared to adults. They also share unique behaviors and interactions with their environment that may increase their exposure to environmental contaminants.
  •          Older Adults.  The nation’s older adult population (ages 65 and older) will nearly double in size from 2015 through 2050.  Between 1979 and 2004, deaths from heat exposure were reported most commonly among adults aged 65 and older.  The need to evacuate an area during or after extreme events can pose increased health and safety risks for older adults, especially those who are poor or reside in nursing or assisted-living facilities.  Air pollution can also exacerbate asthma and COPD and can increase the risk of heart attack in older adults, especially those who are also diabetic or obese.
  •      Occupational Groups.  Outdoor workers are often among the first to be exposed to the effects of climate change. Climate change is expected to affect the health of outdoor workers through increases in ambient temperature, degraded air quality, extreme weather, vector-borne diseases, industrial exposures, and changes in the built environment.  An increased need for complex emergency responses will expose rescue and recovery workers to physical and psychological hazards.  The incidence of heat illness among active duty U.S. military personnel is several-fold higher than the summertime incidence in the general U.S. population (147 per 100,000 among the military versus 21.5 per 100,000 in the general population per year)
  • Persons with Disabilities.  An increase in extreme weather can be expected to disproportionately affect populations with disabilities, who experience higher rates of social risk factors—such as poverty and lower educational attainment—that contribute to poorer health outcomes during extreme events or climate-related emergencies.  Persons with disabilities often rely on medical equipment (such as portable oxygen) that requires an uninterrupted source of electricity.
  •     Persons with Chronic Medical Conditions.  Preexisting medical conditions present risk factors for increased illness and death associated with climate-related stressors, especially exposure to extreme heat.  Hospital admissions and emergency room visits increase during heat waves for people with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and psychiatric illnesses. Medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or mental illnesses can impair judgment and behavioral responses in crisis situations, which can place people with those conditions at greater risk.



President Obama has already taken action to combat the health impacts of climate change and protect the health of future generations. Just last year, the Administration:

         Brought together health and medical professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the challenges of climate change for public health through a series of convenings, workshops, and a formal White House Climate Change and Health Summit;

         Expanded access to climate and health data, involving more than 100 health-relevant datasets, to spur innovation so that communities and businesses could act to reduce the health impacts of climate change;

         Started integrating climate considerations into agency health and safety policies; and

         Created initiatives at EPA, USGS, CDC, and the Department of Defense to improve, consolidate, and better visualize data connecting climate change effects to human health.

The Administration has announced a series of additional actions to keep us on track to better understand, communicate, and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, including:

         President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children Addresses Climate Change.  The President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children, has expanded its scope to include climate change.  The Task Force includes representatives of 17 federal departments and White House offices and focuses on environmental threats to the health and wellbeing of children that are best addressed through interagency efforts.  Its priorities are asthma disparities, healthy settings, chemical exposures, and climate change and children’s health.  The Task Force has made available examples of actions being taken around the country to protect children from the impacts of climate change on HHS’s new climate and health website at http://www.hhs.gov/climate/childrenshealth/index.html. 

         Developing a Climate-Ready Tribes and Territories Initiative. This year, CDC’s Climate and Health Program will launch the Climate-Ready Tribes and Territories Initiative, which will provide awards for up to five tribal and territorial health departments in the U.S to support public health preparedness and resilience activities that address the health challenges of climate change in these areas.  Although some state and city health departments receive guidance and funding for climate and health research and adaptation planning, no similar program has been available to assist tribal and territorial governments. CDC will work with stakeholders to develop guidance relevant to the unique challenges faced in these jurisdictions.  CDC will use its disease prevention expertise to assist tribal and territorial governments in investigating, preparing for, and adapting to the health effects of climate change.

         Updating the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Toolkit.The Toolkit is undergoing pilot testing and evaluation and will be revised and expanded by the end of the year.  In addition, lectures and trainings on the toolkit are being planned for a series of major conferences this year, including the NACCHO Preparedness Summit, the meeting of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, and the CleanMed Conference. Also planned is a series of training webinars for the private sector on how to use of the toolkit by Practice Greenhealth.

         National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to Develop K-12 Educational Materials on Climate Change and Health.  NIEHS is developing educational materials on climate change and health at the K-12 level based on the new Climate and Health Assessment.  They will partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society to help disseminate the materials and offer training. The audience for training is teachers and “train the trainer” teacher experts.  The training is expected to be piloted this fall.

         Reducing the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat. The Administration is announcing that May 23 – 27 is Extreme Heat Week during which agencies will take a number of activities to prepare the nation for extreme heat. This week is a key part of America’s PrepareAthon!, the Administration’s seasonal campaign to build community-level preparedness action. The White House is planning a webinar during Extreme Heat Week focused on education and outreach to populations more vulnerable to extreme heat as well as to community planners and public health officials to enhance community preparedness to extreme heat events.


OMB: Obama Administration Would Veto ‘Retail Investor Protection Act’

The Office of Management and Budget has issued a Statement of Administration Policy regarding HR 1090, the “Retail Investor Protection Act” sponsored by Rep. Wagner (R-MO) and 34 co-sponsors, because as is typical of such bills that have come from the Republican Majority, their title is the very opposite of their actual intent:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1090 because the bill would derail an important Department of Labor rulemaking critical to protecting Americans’ hard-earned savings and preserving their retirement security.

H.R. 1090 prohibits Labor from issuing a rule to protect investors until the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acts.  It also impinges on the SEC’s ability to move forward with its own rulemaking by requiring the SEC to take the misguided step of providing definitive findings before promulgating a rule.

Further, the bill ignores the fact that significant study has already been conducted by both agencies and that Labor has had extensive engagement with the public, industry, and numerous stakeholders in its rulemaking process.  This includes more than 140 days of public comment period, four days of public hearings, and approximately 100 meetings with stakeholders after the proposal was published in April.  Moreover, Labor and the SEC are already working closely to ensure the smooth operation of the proposed safeguards, and this legislation would hamper effective coordination between the two agencies.

Under existing, outdated rules, savers cannot count on receiving the unbiased advice that they need and expect.  This bill would effectively block action to protect working and middle-class families from the harmful conflicts of interest that lead to biased advice.  The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that these conflicts cost savers $17 billion every year.

The Administration is committed to ensuring that American workers and retirees are able to receive advice about how to invest their money in safe, secure, and transparent financial products that are free from harmful conflicts of interest.  Labor’s ongoing rulemaking is designed to protect the retirement savings of millions of workers and retirees by ensuring that paid advisors and other entities do not place their own financial interests over those of their customers.  This legislation puts a roadblock in the way of preventing such harmful conflicts, which hurts businesses, consumers, and retirees and their families.

If the President were presented with H.R. 1090, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.