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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Meets with Powells and Leading CEOs on Making Investments to Ensure a Competitive US Workforce


Several CEOs Announce New Investments

Today, the President will host an education roundtable with business leaders, Secretary Duncan, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and Founding Chair General Colin Powell to discuss building upon strong industry-led partnerships that are working to transform the American education system. Other corporate partners in attendance include representatives from the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Coalition for Student Achievement, the Business-Higher Education Forum, and the United Way.

“A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs but whether America can outcompete countries around the world. America's business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That's why were working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child,” said President Barack Obama.

The President’s meeting with these leading CEOs builds on his continued leadership to work with the business community on the pressing needs of American education. Through efforts such as Change the Equation, with its focus on corporate investment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Skills for America’s Future with its support of business partnerships with community colleges, and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the private sector is responding not just with financial support, but with commitments that take advantage of their areas of expertise and the skills of their employees. 

New Commitments Being Announced Today:

Community Engagement and Investment to Transform the Nation’s Lowest-Performing Schools: America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation Community Impact Fund will raise $50 million to support the goal of ending the dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and career. The first planning grants from this social venture fund will be awarded in the fall to communities that demonstrate a commitment to local action aligned with the goals of the Grad Nation Campaign, including student supports for our most vulnerable young people.  Applicants will be communities with a low-performing school and a willingness and capacity to build a multi-sector, collaborative approach that includes partnerships with the business community and local school system, and the capacity to raise matching funds to promote local investment to sustain this work.

Expanding Opportunities for Students to Prepare for Livable Wage Jobs: Bank of America will announce a $50 million pledge to education over the next 3 years, launching this goal through $4.5 million in grants. The investment will support programs that bridge the achievement gap to post-secondary education completion and connect the underserved and unemployed, as well as returning veterans, and individuals with disabilities, to workforce success in high-growth sectors, in particular through community colleges.  Recognizing the need for knowledgeable and skilled workers to compete in the global economy, Bank of America is investing in education as part of its comprehensive lending, investing and volunteer activities aimed at strengthening the economic and social health of communities.

Research and Development for Next Generation Learning Models and Resources for Students and Teachers: Building on its history of commitment to education and recent $25 million STEM Scholarship grant program in Washington State, Microsoft Education is announcing a new $15M investment in research and development for immersive learning technologies including game based instruction and the creation of a lifelong learning digital archive. Through the creation of these innovative solutions, the disengaged can become passionate problem solvers and the struggling student can be offered other pathways to success.  Rooted in this investment is the understanding that technical innovation alone will not help. Therefore, over the next 3 years, Microsoft is committing to train over 150 thousand educators and leaders and provide access to professional learning communities and training to every teacher in the United States through the new Partners in Learning Network.

Supporting a Statewide Focus on Education System Redesign: In the past four years, the Nike School Innovation Fund (NSIF) has provided $7 million in innovation grants and thousands of volunteer hours by senior Nike leaders and other employees to support students, teachers and principals in three Oregon public school districts. The Fund is announcing a new commitment as a primary partner of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his initiative to help make the state’s entire education system more nimble, innovative and supportive of the key grades of 9 to 12. With this news, Nike’s commitment to strengthening education in Oregon totals $10 million. The NSIF will now provide a year of funding, expertise and policy guidance that is expected to serve as a model for the Governor’s larger statewide education transformation plan.

Participants in Today’s Meeting Include:
• Marguerite Kondracke, President & CEO, America’s Promise
• Alma Powell, Chairwoman, America’s Promise
• General Colin Powell, Founding Chairman, America’s Promise
• Craig Barrett, Former President & CEO, Intel
• Glenn Britt, CEO, Time Warner Cable
• Steve Case, Former Chairman & CEO, America Online
• Brian Gallagher, President & CEO, United Way Worldwide
• William Green, President & CEO, Accenture
• Fred Humphries, Senior Vice President, Microsoft
• Rhonda Mimms, Foundation President, ING
• Kathleen Murphy, President, Fidelity Personal Investments
• Ed Rust, CEO, State Farm
• Randall Stephenson, Chairman & CEO, AT&T