Happy Mother’s Day

Toya Graham and her son Michael

Toya Graham and her son Michael

Happy Mother’s Day to Toya Graham 

April 29, 2015

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks on the topic of Baltimore resident Toya Graham’s interaction with her son Michael

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Q One last thing. The President often has talked, when issues of racial tension have come up, about how he perceives things, or tries to look at things as a father. Toya Graham is being talked about as sort of a hero mom for her specific and videotaped interaction with her son in some of the more intense moments that occurred in Baltimore. I’m just curious — has the President seen any of that? Does he have any evaluation of it? Does he believe it is something that adds to our understanding about the role of parents in situations like this?

MR. EARNEST: I haven’t spoken to the President about this specific thing. I do feel confident in hazarding a guess that he has seen the video. The President, as he alluded to in the Rose Garden yesterday, does believe that there is a role for parents to play there in terms of setting guidelines and doing right by their kids. He also pointed out that there are certain policies and certain situations where it’s virtually impossible for parents to do right by their kids. And trying to confront those obstacles to responsible parenting is one thing that we all need to take responsibility for and not just pin that responsibility on police officers who already have a very difficult job.

But the President, even dating back to his first presidential campaign — and you covered some of these events — remember that the President, in rather colorful fashion on occasion, talked about how important it is for parents to impose some guidelines and to impose some structure on their kids, and that that was going to be critical to their success, and that there is a lot, there’s a significant role for the government to play in terms of putting in place policies — like good schools, economic opportunity, early childhood education, even making sure that kids have good access to health care I think are in line with the kinds of things that the government can do to try to address some of these endemic problems.

But the President also believes that we should not overlook the critically important role that parents can play in setting some guidelines and setting some structure for their kids to give them a chance to succeed.

Q Based on your memory and my memory of that particular speech — and you, I’m sure, have seen the video, you have a hunch the President has seen it. Without saying whether or not the President would have acted in a similar way or endorse Michelle asking in a similar way, do you think he would generally be okay with what he saw and this ultimate result, which was to discourage her son from participating further in the activity?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what I — why don’t I just say it this way. I think what resonated with me is — and he has got a lot more experience being a parent than I do, but let me just say what resonated with me —

Q As do I. (Laughter.)

MR. EARNEST: As do you. So maybe we should hear what resonated with you. But let me just say that the thing that resonated with me was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray. And while I’m sure that it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his safety and his well-being and her love for her child. And I think that is a very powerful expression about the role that parents can play, that that expression of love was very conspicuous and one that I think will serve as a powerful influence on that young man’s life.

And that same kind of passion and concern and love for the well-being of one’s child I do think is the kind of thing that can contribute to a young man or woman having the kind of opportunity to succeed that a lot of other kids don’t get.

WH Mothers Day 2015

Happy Mother’s Day

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33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

Native American Tribal map

National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference

April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
6:00 ET
Portland, Oregon

33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.  Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

NICWA Facebook

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Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

 Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/federal/11358-bill-aims-to-keep-american-indian-children-with-families

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Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/life/people/11398-impoverished-tribe-faces-surge-in-teen-suicides

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April 08, 2015

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Washington, DC

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/prepared-remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-white-house-convening-creatin

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SECRETARY JEWELL KICKS OFF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIVE YOUTH LISTENING TOUR

20 FEB 2015 BY NATIVE NEWS ONLINE STAFF 

WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.

Source: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/u-s-department-interior/

Ending Youth Homelessness

Luke Tate May 08, 2015

No young person should lack a stable and safe home, or be without a caring adult they can count on. Too many of America’s youth have been robbed of that essential foundation — and thanks to the extraordinary work of practitioners and volunteers across the country, we are learning what it takes to reestablish that footing and end youth homelessness nationwide.

In 2012, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) issued the Framework to End Youth Homelessness detailing the steps necessary to achieve the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, and strategies to improve outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness. This framework articulates the need for government, non-profit, civic, and faith community partners to focus together on the overall well-being of youth experiencing homelessness — addressing not just their need for stable housing, but also their educational and employment goals, and the importance of permanent adult connections in their lives.

It’s clear that success in those ambitious goals requires better data on youth experiencing unaccompanied homelessness, stronger capacity in the systems and organizations serving youth directly, and clearer evidence on what works. To advance those efforts, last week we welcomed youth, service providers, advocates, policymakers, and researchers to the White House on 40 to None Day, for an afternoon of discussions on the strongest approaches for serving youth in need, and the path forward, leveraging better data and evidence and strengthening our partnerships to end youth homelessness.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/08/ending-youth-homelessness

Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders

In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.

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US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014
ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™

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137th White House Easter Egg Roll

WH Easter Egg Roll logoWH Easter Egg Roll 2015

2015 WH Easter Egg Roll logo

The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that dates to 1878. Originally, young children in Washington, DC, would flock to Capitol Hill every Monday after Easter for egg rolling and a day of activities. Members of Congress grew tired of the growing crowds and passed an Act of Congress which prohibited egg rolling on the Capitol grounds. The event was moved to the White House in 1878 after President Hayes was approached by young children to use his backyard to roll eggs. Nearly every Easter since, the White House has invited young children to roll eggs on the White House lawn.

Today, the Easter Egg Roll has grown from a few local children rolling eggs on the White House lawn to become the largest event held at the White House, filled with live entertainment, sports and interactive cooking demonstrations. And, of course, the traditional rolling of the Easter eggs. The Easter Egg Roll promotes healthy and active living and is designed for children 13 years of age and under.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle announced the theme for this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll: “#GimmeFive”  Part of the President and First Lady’s ongoing effort to open the White House to as many people as possible, the event will open its South Lawn for children ages 13 years and younger and their families.   In support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to help kids grow up healthy and  have the opportunity to reach their full potential, the event will feature sports courts, cooking stations, and, of course, Easter egg rolling in addition to live music and storytelling.

National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, produces and sells the White House Easter egg.  An egg is given as a souvenir to all children 13 years and younger who attend the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, which is part of the National Park System. To place your commemorative egg order, please visit www.recreation.gov, and follow the link to the online Easter egg store.

Visit the Official White House website to view photos and videos of past events and learn more about the history of the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Follow the Easter Egg Roll on Twitter with the hashtag #EasterEggRoll

WH 2014 Easter Egg Roll banner

April 6, 2015

8:00 AM ET
137th White House Easter Egg Roll South Lawn Live Stream:  WhiteHouse.gov/live

10:30 AM ET
President Obama and First Lady Michelle delivers remarks at the 137th Annual White House Easter Egg Roll
South Lawn

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Call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act

FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America

Tomorrow, the President will unveil new proposals to strengthen the middle class by giving working families the flexibility to balance their families and jobs and giving all Americans the opportunity to earn sick days.  Building on the steps the Administration announced last year during the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, tomorrow’s announcement includes:

  • Calling on Congress, as well as States and cities, to pass legislation [The Healthy Families Act] that would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year;
  • Proposing more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs and announcing that the Department of Labor will use $1 million in existing funds to help States and municipalities conduct feasibility studies; and
  • Modernizing the Federal workplace by signing a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child and calling on Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

The challenge of balancing work and family has grown as families have shifted so that today in most families all parents work and all parents contribute to caregiving.  Across married and single parent families, all parents are working in more than 60 percent of households with children, up from 40 percent in 1965.  And today, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force, compared with around 30 percent in the 1970s.  Yet the fundamental structure of work has not kept pace with the changing American family, and many families are struggling to balance obligations at home and on the job. In fact, the United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.

That is why the President is announcing additional efforts to help working families that build on the steps he announced at last June’s White House Summit, including support for states to design paid leave programs and a Presidential Memorandum that established a “right to request” flexible workplace arrangements for Federal workers and directed Federal agencies to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent. The White House Council on Economic Advisers also released a report (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf) last June on the economic benefits of paid leave. From increasing the minimum wage, to equal pay for women, to workplace flexibility, to child care, to paid leave – President Obama is taking action on issues that impact America’s working families.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/14/fact-sheet-white-house-unveils-new-steps-strengthen-working-families-acr

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Maternity Leave Law by Countries

The United States it the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.

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Right To Choose

Mothers for Choice

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby) is a United States Supreme Court case determining whether the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can exempt a company from federal government regulations requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their female employees. The case is a reaction against a requirement deriving from the Affordable Care Act. It could have widespread impact on the issue of whether companies can be religiously exempt from any federal law that protects the interests of other individuals.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebelius_v._Hobby_Lobby

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On eve of court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage, says a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected on Monday.

In one of the most closely watched cases of the year, the nine-member court will weigh whether for-profit corporations may raise religious objections to a mandate in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare law that their insurance cover contraceptives.

It brings to the forefront thorny questions of religious freedom and reproductive rights, along with enduring politicking over the law known as Obamacare, itself broadly upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.

The poll asked whether employers should be able to choose what forms of contraceptives their health plans provide based on their religious beliefs. Of those responding, 53 percent disagreed and 35 percent agreed. Of those surveyed, 12 percent said they did not know.

The justices will sit at 10 a.m. ET on Monday [June 30th] for the final day of their nine-month annual term.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/eve-court-ruling-americans-oppose-contraceptive-ban-reuters-082552408–finance.html

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.The Supreme Court ruled today that some bosses can now withhold contraceptive care from their employees health coverage based on their own religious views that their employees may not even share. President Obama believes that women should make personal healthcare decisions for themselves rather then their bosses deciding for them. Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies. As millions of women know firsthand, contraceptive is often vital to their health and wellbeing. That is why the Affordable Care Act ensures that women have coverage for contraceptive care, along with other preventative care like vaccines and cancer screenings. We will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else. President Obama believes strongly in the freedom of religion. That is why we have taken steps to ensure that no religious institution will have to pay or provide for contraceptive coverage. We have also made accomodations for non-profit organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds. But we believe that the owners of for profit companies should not be allowed to assert their personal religious views to deny their employees federally mandated benefits. Now, we will of course respect the Supreme Court ruling and we will continue to look for ways to improve American’s health by helping women to have more, not less, say over the personal health decisions that affect them and their families.

6/30/14 White House spokesman Josh Earnest on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Freedom to Choose When to Start a Family 

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White House Summit On Working Families

White House Working Families Summit
June 23, 2014
Omni Hotel, Washington DC

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It’s time for a 21st-century workplace that works for all Americans.

The modern family looks different than it ever has before. In 63 percent of families with children, all parents work. 32 percent of families with children are single-parent families. And yet, most moms and dads don’t have access to paid leave or flexible workplaces. On average, women are still earning 77 cents to every dollar a man doing the same work earns.

It’s time for workplace policies that give all workers the best chance to succeed at work and at home.

Join us for a conversation on working families for a 21st Century workplace at the Working Families Summit on June 23rd. Visit WorkingFamiliesSummit.org to learn more.

THE ISSUES

There are concrete steps we can take to give all workers the best chance to succeed at work and at home. These strategies must include making full use of the entire talent pool of workers so that our workplaces are fair, effective, and productive for employers and employees alike. In particular, tackling barriers to women’s success in the workplace is critical to achieving economic security for working families.

Women increasingly play a central role as the main or co-breadwinners in their families. Their gains – or losses – can be the difference between whether their family thrives or falls apart. Because of the pivotal role women play in the overall well-being of working families, policies that promote women’s economic security are essential to protecting working families’ economic stability.

PATHWAYS TO QUALITY EMPLOYMENT

One critical strategy to strengthen the economic well-being of working families is getting all workers into good jobs. This includes improving opportunities for women, who often have been shut out of higher-paying jobs or work in low-wage jobs that are chronically undervalued and have limited mobility.

  • Equal Pay
  • Raising Minimum Wage
  • Improving Job Quality
  • Access to STEM Jobs

KEEPING WORKERS IN GOOD JOBS

  • Paid Leave
  • Workplace Flexibility
  • Child Care and Preschool

CREATING OPPORTUNITIES TO SUCCEED AND ADVANCE IN THE WORKPLACE

  • Expanding Women’s Leadership Opportunities
  • Changing the Culture of the Workplace
  • Combating Workplace Discrimination
  • Creating Career Pathways in Low-Wage Jobs

For more: http://workingfamiliessummit.org/issues/

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The White House, CAP, and the U.S. Department of Labor to Hold White House Summit on Working Families June 

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress announced that it will partner with the White House and the U.S. Department of Labor to convene the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014. The summit will focus on elevating the ongoing national conversation about making today’s workplaces work for everyone and ensuring that women have a fair shot to help their families succeed.

“We know that when women succeed in the workplace, our families and our overall economy thrive,” said CAP President Neera Tanden. “We are excited that CAP will join the White House and U.S. Department of Labor in co-sponsoring this important summit because we know that helping to ensure that parents can balance their responsibilities at home and at work will be critical for companies’ bottom lines and the country’s economic growth.”

The Center for American Progress has developed innovative policy ideas—from paid leave to universal pre-kindergarten—that address the realities faced by working parents who are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families.

For more: http://www.americanprogress.org/press/release/2014/03/12/85689/release-the-white-house-cap-and-the-u-s-department-of-labor-to-hold-white-house-summit-on-working-families-june-23/

Learn more: http://workingfamiliessummit.org

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Presidential Memorandum — Enhancing Workplace Flexibilities and Work-Life Program

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My Brother’s Keeper

President Obama signs the

President Obama signs the “My Brother’s Keeper” presidential memorandum 2/27/14

My Brother’s Keeper

The “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will bring government agencies, foundations and companies together to test a range of strategies to support young men to keep them in school and out of the criminal justice system.

My Brother’s Keeper strives to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.

Participants will include youth groups like the Chicago-based group called “Becoming a Man“, Michael Rubinger, chief executive of the Local Initiatives Support Corp.; scholars such as Robert Putnam, a Harvard University professor; business leaders such as Thomas Donohue, the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the former basketball star and businessman; cabinet officials Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Education Secretary Arne DuncanLabor Secretary Thomas Perez , General Colin Powell, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Adam Silver, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, and  many more leaders from key national and regional philanthropic foundations and major businesses, all of whom understand what is at stake with this effort.  When we let this many boys and young men fall behind – we are crippling our ability to reach our full potential as a nation.

Learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/my-brothers-keeper

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Preisdent Obama establishes a Task Force with representatives from across the federal government to issue recommendations aimed at improving the life outcomes of all young people from cradle to college to career.

Pathways for Youth Employment: Federal Resources for Employers: This resource guide highlights a diverse set of federal resources available to private businesses, non-profits, faith and secular community-based organizations, public agencies, tribes, labor organizations, and academic institutions that offer entry-level opportunities for youth.

American Apprenticeship Grants: In December 2014, President Obama and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez announced a $100 million American Apprenticeship Grant competition for public-private partnerships, including employer-led and state/regional consortia, to expand registered apprenticeship programs in specific high-growth industries, such as health care, biotechnology, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.

Federal Resources Playbook for Registered Apprenticeship: This playbook was released by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employers, educational institutions, training providers, and workforce development professionals leverage more than $50 billion a year in federal funding in support of apprenticeship programs