Category Archives: Young Women

Community Colleges: “America’s Best Kept Secret

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama and Dr. Jill Biden take part in the White House Summit on Community Colleges, highlighting the critical role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce and reaching our educational goals, in the East Room of the White House, October 5, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, Dr. Jill Biden hosted the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges.  The summit brought together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, faculty and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s evolving workforce, as well as the critical role these institutions play in achieving the President’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

As Dr. Biden said in her remarks earlier today, community colleges are “one of America’s best-kept secrets,” providing affordable, quality higher education to millions of Americans each year and preparing them for the jobs of the 21st century:

Getting Americans back to work is America’s great challenge.  And community colleges are critically important to preparing graduates for those jobs.  We are here today because community colleges are entering a new day in America, and here’s why:  For more and more people, community colleges are the way to the future.  They’re giving real opportunity to students who otherwise wouldn’t have it.  They’re giving hope to families who thought the American Dream was slipping away.  They are equipping Americans with the skills and expertise that are relevant to the emerging jobs of the future.  They’re opening doors for the middle class at a time when the middle class has seen so many doors close to them.

In his remarks at the opening session of the summit, President Obama emphasized the importance of providing all students with access to higher education to meet his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

That’s why last year I launched the American Graduation Initiative.  I promised that we would end wasteful subsidies to big banks for student loans, and instead use that money to make college more affordable, and to make a historic investment in community colleges.  And after a tough fight, we passed those reforms, and today we’re using this money towards the interest of higher education in America.

And this is helping us modernize community colleges at a critical time -– because many of these schools are under pressure to cut costs and to cap enrollments and scrap courses even as demand has soared.  It’s going to make it possible for colleges to better harness technology in the classroom and beyond.  And it’s going to promote reform, as colleges compete for funding by improving graduation rates, and matching courses to the needs of local businesses, and making sure that when a graduate is handed a diploma it means that she or he are ready for a career.

We’re also helping students succeed by making college more affordable.  So we’ve increased student aid by thousands of dollars.  We’ve simplified the loan application process.  And we’re making it easier for students to pay back their loans by limiting payments to 10 percent of their income.  But reaching the 2020 goal that I’ve set is not just going to depend on government.  It also depends on educators and students doing their part.  And it depends on businesses and non-for-profits working with colleges to connect students with jobs.

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The President also reiterated the importance of investing in education as a means of growing our economy even in tough economic times – a point he made yesterday when he announced the Skills for America program.

That’s why I so strongly disagree with the economic plan that was released last week by the Republican leaders in Congress, which would actually cut education by 20 percent.  It would reduce or eliminate financial aid for 8 million college students.  And it would leave community colleges without the resources they need to meet the goals we’ve talked about today.

Instead, this money would help pay for a $700 billion tax cut that only 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans would ever see –- an average of $100,000 for every millionaire and billionaire in the country.  And that just doesn’t make sense -– not for students, not for our economy.

Think about it.  China isn’t slashing education by 20 percent right now.  India is not slashing education by 20 percent.  We are in a fight for the future -– a fight that depends on education.  And cutting aid for 8 million students, or scaling back our community — our commitment to community colleges, that’s like unilaterally disarming our troops right as they head to the frontlines.

To learn more about the White House Summit on Community Colleges, visit WhiteHouse.gov/CommunityCollege.

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Filed under Change, Dr. Jill Biden, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Young Men, Young Women

President Obama Signs Largest Reform Of Student Aid In 40 Years

Posted by: Audiegrl

A Great Battle Pitting the Interests of the Banks and Financial Institutions Against the Interests of Students

President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 during a signing ceremony at Northern Virginia Community College March 30, 2010 in Alexandria, Virginia. (Photo by Pete Souza, White House)

Today at Northern Virginia Community College, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the last step on health reform that provided fixes for some elements and which improved upon the core health reforms by increasing tax credits for the middle class, investing in community health centers, and strengthening efforts to fight waste and fraud.

But the legislation also include another major priority of the President’s that was often overshadowed by the health reform debate, as he explained: “But what’s gotten overlooked amid all the hoopla, all the drama of last week, is what happened in education — when a great battle pitting the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests of students finally came to an end.” The President was referring to reform of student loans to make higher education more affordable, allowing students to get loans without relying on large banks as unnecessary middlemen, and saving American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming years.

The President explained that the government will reinvest the savings back into education by upgrading community colleges, increasing Pell Grants, and making it easier for responsible students to pay off their loans. Brian Levine from the Middle Class Task Force explains how the Income Based Repayment program will benefit students and help borrowers avoid unmanageable debt burdens here. The Act will also invest savings in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

Joined by Dr. Jill Biden, who spoke on the boost for community colleges in a video here earlier today, the President explained that this law takes another important step to invest in the country’s future through education:

For a long time, our student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions. Today, we’re finally making our student loan system work for students and our families. But we’re also doing something more.

From the moment I was sworn into office, I’ve spoken about the urgent need for us to lay a new foundation for our economy and for our future. And two pillars of that foundation are health care and education, and each has long suffered from problems that we chose to kick down the road.

With the bill I signed last week, we finally undertook meaningful reform of our health care system. With this bill, and other steps we’ve pursued over the last year, we are finally undertaking meaningful reform in our higher education system. So this week, we can rightly say the foundation on which America’s future will be built is stronger than it was one year ago.

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Filed under Change, Dr. Jill Biden, Education, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Young Men, Young Women

Nancy Pelosi Hosts Women’s History Month Celebration In Honor Of Hillary Clinton

Posted by: Audiegrl

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)(R) participate in Women's History Month Celebration at the US Capitol on March 25, 2010 in Washington DC. The event was held to honor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during Women's History Month Celebration. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s full remarks

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First Lady Michelle Obama to Serve as National Honorary Chair of Girls Inc. Board of Directors

Posted by: Audiegrl

“It’s good to be a girl in this world today. I like being a girl because I can speak for myself. I can stand up for myself. Being a girl makes me strong”~Mytha, age 6


Girls Incorporated, the nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold and the oldest girl-centered organization in the United States, is delighted to announce that First Lady Michelle Obama has agreed to serve as the organization’s Honorary Board Chair.

In this role, Mrs. Obama will lend her support to the ongoing work of Girls Inc., particularly around creating opportunities and resources for girls to learn and grow, to navigate the unique challenges they face growing up, and to discover their potential as leaders with the courage and vision to change the world.

In her short tenure as First Lady, Mrs. Obama has demonstrated her ability to speak to our nation’s challenges with sensitivity and depth. Her new campaign on childhood obesity, Let’s Move!, will improve the well-being of girls, and will complement and bolster efforts to empower girls in creating a healthy society.

It is crucial to provide girls with the resources and role models to encourage them to share their voices, dream big, and envision themselves as tomorrow’s leaders,” said Joyce M. Roché, President & Chief Executive Officer of Girls Inc. “Mrs. Obama has achieved at the highest levels of education and law and demonstrates a heartfelt commitment to ensuring that all of our nation’s children have the opportunity to realize their full potential. We greatly look forward to the honor of working with her on issues that affect girls, their families, and their communities.”

Exposing our young people to new ideas, introducing them to the larger world beyond their own life experiences, and inspiring them to become the leaders of tomorrow is of paramount importance and I am pleased to serve as Honorary Board Chair of Girls Inc.,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama is the tenth First Lady to serve in this role since 1953, when First Lady Mamie Eisenhower became the first Honorary Board Chair of Girls Inc.

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Filed under Children, First Lady Michelle Obama, Uncategorized, Young Women

What the Health Care Bill Does for Average Americans

Posted by: Bluedog89

President Barack Obama addresses doctors at the White House.

HP~After months of fierce debate around the country and after an intense day of voting on Capitol Hill, a health care reform bill is on its way to President Obama’s desk.

Once Obama signs the bill into law, as he is expected to do on Tuesday, it will mean an end to the current health care system as we know it.

Pundits on the right and left have been reacting to passage of the legislation, but what does the bill actually mean for the average American?

The immediate effects of the health care bill as well as some that will take effect in the first year of implementation are as follows:

1. Health Insurers cannot deny children health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. A ban on the discrimination in adults will take effect in 2014.

2. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums.

3. Seniors will get a rebate to fill the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage, which severely limits prescription medication coverage expenditures over $2,700. As of next year, 50% of the donut hole will be filled.

4. The cut-off age for young adults to continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance rises to the age 27.

5. Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance an individual can have will be banned. Annual caps will be limited, and banned in 2014.

6. A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions. Health care exchanges will eliminate the program in 2014.

7. New plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays. All plans will be affected by 2018.

8. Insurance companies can no longer cut someone when he or she gets sick.

9. Insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.

10. Any new plan must now implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

11. This tax will impose a 10% tax on indoor tanning services. This tax, which replaced the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery, would be effective for services on or after July 1, 2010.

12. New screening procedures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance fraud and waste.

13. Medicare payment protections will be extended to small rural hospitals and other health care facilities that have a small number of Medicare patients.

14. Non-profit Blue Cross organizations will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio — money spent on procedures over money incoming — of 85% or higher to take advantage of IRS tax benefits.

15. Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.

16. The bill establishes a temporary program for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55‐64 in order to help reduce the often-expensive cost of that coverage.

17. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will set up a new Web site to make it easy for Americans in any state to seek out affordable health insurance options The site will also include helpful information for small businesses.

18. A two‐year temporary credit (up to a maximum of $1 billion) is in the bill to encourage investment in new therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

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Filed under (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Aging, Barack Obama, Childhood Obesity, Children, Congress, Government, Health, Health Care Reform, History, Medicine, News, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Senate, Seniors, United States, US, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

First Lady Michelle Obama Takes Mentee’s to Visit Supreme Court Justices

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama listens as Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor talk with a group of young women, during a mentoring event at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

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Filed under Courts, First Lady Michelle Obama, Justice Sonya Sotomayer, Students, Supreme Court, Uncategorized, Young Women

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Present the 2010 Women of Courage Awards

Posted by: Audiegrl

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) acknowledges guests as First Lady Michelle Obama (R) looks on during the fourth annual Award for International Women of Courage ceremony at the State Department March 10, 2010 in Washington, DC. The ceremony paid tribute to 10 outstanding women leaders worldwide. (Photos by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will hosted the annual International Women of Courage Awards on March 10, 2010 at the Department of State.

To mark International Women’s Day, the annual International Women of Courage Award recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights and advancement. This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide, and offers a unique opportunity to recognize those who work in the field of international women’s issues.



Award Winners

Shukria AsilShukria Asil
Afghanistan
Promoting government responsiveness to the needs of women.
Biography


Colonel Shafiqa QuraishiColonel Shafiqa Quraishi
Afghanistan
Integrating women into the government and police force.
Biography


Androula HenriquesAndroula Henriques
Cyprus
Fighting human trafficking.
Biography


Sonia PierreSonia Pierre
Dominican Republic
Ending discrimination based on country of origin and the human rights abuses of statelessness.
Biography


Shadi SadrShadi Sadr
Iran
Advocating for women’s legal rights and an end to execution by stoning.
Biography


Ann NjoguAnn Njogu
Kenya
Seeking social transformation and at the forefront of reforms in Kenya.
Biography


Dr. Lee Ae-ranDr. Lee Ae-ran
Republic of Korea
Promoting human rights in North Korea and aiding the refugee community in the Republic of Korea.
Biography


Jansila MajeedJansila Majeed
Sri Lanka
Strengthening rights for internally displaced persons.
Biography


Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (a.k.a. Sister Marie Claude)Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (a.k.a. Sister Marie Claude)
Syria
Working for social services for women.
Biography


Jestina MukokoJestina Mukoko
Zimbabwe
Documenting human rights abuses.
Biography

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