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Veterans Jobs Corps, Medal of Freedom, and the Export-Import Bank: Deputies' Download

President Obama speaks about his proposed Veterans Jobs Corps, awards the Medal of Freedom to 13 Americans, and reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank.

President Obama: We Have to Deliver for Our Veterans

At an event in Minnesota last Friday, President Obama was introduced by Ryan Sullivan -- a Navy veteran who served in Iraq and Yemen. When he was discharged, Sullivan got an education in electrical maintenance and construction and then went to work for Honeywell.

The President wants to make sure that all those returning from war find good jobs, just like Ryan Sullivan. That's why he's proposed the Veterans Jobs Corps, with a goal of putting 20,000 servicemembers to work rebuilding American infrastructure and serving as cops and firefighters.

President Barack Obama greets people in the crowd at the Honeywell Golden Valley Facility (June 1, 2012)

President Barack Obama greets people in the crowd at the Honeywell Golden Valley Facility in Golden Valley, Minn., June 1, 2012. The President urged Congress to act on the “To Do List,” specifically highlighting the need to honor our commitment to returning veterans by passing legislation that creates a Veterans Jobs Corps. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

He told the crowd in Golden Valley:

Now, just think about the skills these veterans have acquired at an incredibly young age. Think about the leadership they’ve learned -- 25-year-olds, 26-year-olds leading platoons into unbelievably dangerous situations, life-or-death situations. Think about the cutting-edge technologies they’ve mastered; their ability to adapt to changing and unpredictable situations -- you can’t get that stuff from a classroom.

The President called on lawmakers to pass legislation making the Veterans Jobs Corps a reality – part of his To-Do List for Congress. The proposals on the President’s To-Do List are important steps that Congress can take right now to create jobs. It’s time for Congress to act. Check out the full To-Do List, then join the conversation and make your voice heard with the hashtag #CongressToDoList.

President Obama Awards the Medal of Freedom

On Tuesday, May 29th, President Obama honored 13 Americans with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Medal of Freedom is the highest honor awarded to civilians in the United States. It was established in 1963 by President Kennedy and is presented to those who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

President Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pat Summitt (May 29, 2012)

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, May 29, 2012. Looking on at left is author Toni Morrison who also received the Medal of Freedom. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

The President said:

These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation.  They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place.

This year's recipients include cultural icons like Bob Dylan and Toni Morrison, as well as groundbreaking pioneers like former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and Pat Summit, the winningest basketball coach in NCAA history. Also honored were Dolores Huerta, who cofounded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, and Jan Karski, whose work in the Polish resistance allowed him to share a first-hand account of the Holocaust with Western Allies.

President Obama Signs Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank

Through the course of the past twelve months, U.S. companies exported $2.15 trillion worth of goods. That figure breaks a record -- it's a 36 percent increase from the level of exports in 2009, and in fact, it's the most we've ever exported in one, 12-month period. Some 9.7 million people went to work because of these exports -- which is itself an increase of 1.2 million export-related jobs since 2009.

And part of the reason for that success has been the Export-Import Bank. The Bank, which is 78 years old, offers assistance to companies around the world that buy American products -- in order to help boost the sale of those goods.

The Bank's charter was set to expire at the end of the month, but with a bipartisan agreement from Congress, the President was able to extend the Bank's mandate through September of 2014.

"By reauthorizing support for the Export-Import Bank, we’re helping thousands of businesses sell more of their products and services overseas," the President said. "And in the process, we’re helping them create jobs here at home."

Blog Highlights

White House Champions of Change Program

The Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating a commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens. We are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

Get Involved

Interest rates on new subsidized student loans are scheduled to double on July 1. If Congress doesn’t act to prevent this, more than 7 million students around the country will rack up an average of $1,000 of extra debt. President Obama knows that’s not acceptable. Raise your voice and reach out to your networks if you agree that student loan rates should not double on July 1. On Twitter and Google+, use the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate; on Facebook, update your status and profile image. Learn more about the President’s proposal and read about the impact higher interest rates would have on the AAPI, Native American, Hispanic, and African American communities.

For more information about ways to get involved, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated regularly with upcoming engagement opportunities. Be sure to participate in the online conversation by following @JonCarson44.

Get Updates

For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

Anne Filipic and Stephanie Valencia are Deputy Directors in the Office of Public Engagement.