Major Research Instrumentation Program – Deadline for Submission January 22, 2015

The Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) serves to increase access to shared scientific and engineering instruments for research and research training in our Nation’s institutions of higher education, not-for-profit museums, science centers and scientific/engineering research organizations. The program provides organizations with opportunities to acquire major instrumentation that supports the research and research training goals of the organization and that may be used by other researchers regionally or nationally.

The MRI program assists with the acquisition or development of a shared research instrument that is, in general, too costly and/or not appropriate for support through other NSF programs. The program does not fund research projects or provide ongoing support for operating or maintaining facilities or centers.  The instrument acquired or developed is expected to be operational for regular research use by the end of the award period. For the purposes of the MRI program, a proposal must be for either acquisition (Track 1) or development (Track 2) of a single, well-integrated instrument. The MRI program does not support the acquisition or development of a suite of instruments to outfit research laboratories or facilities, or that can be used to conduct independent research activities simultaneously.

Instrument acquisition or development proposals that request funds from NSF in the range $100,000-$4 million may be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization. Proposals that request funds from NSF less than $100,000 may also be accepted from any MRI-eligible organization for the disciplines of mathematics or social, behavioral and economic sciences and from non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education for all NSF-supported disciplines.

Cost-sharing of precisely 30% of the total project cost is required for Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education and for non-degree-granting organizations. Non-Ph.D.-granting institutions of higher education are exempt from cost-sharing and cannot include it. National Science Board policy is that voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) Available Formats: HTML: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15504/nsf15504.htm?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click

RISING JUNIORS – Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunity

The NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions Undergraduate Scholarship Program is accepting applications.  Program encourages advisers, mentors, and potential applicants to take advantage of the NOAA resources made available in this message.  Competitive applications: (i) address the NOAA mission; (ii) have resume and personal statements that are crafted to be relevant to the NOAA mission, and (iii) have recommendations that are well developed and made relevant to the NOAA mission.

What:  Provides scholarships for two years of undergraduate study.

Who:  Rising junior undergraduate students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields that directly support NOAA’s mission.

The Program:

  • Students receive total awards valued at up to $35,000 in total support during their junior and senior years.
  • Students complete a nine week paid summer internship at NOAA in Silver Spring, MD, between May and July of the first summer. During the second summer, students complete paid internships at NOAA facilities across the country. During the summer internships, students are paid a stipend and receive a housing allowance.
  • Student scholarship recipients attend a two-week orientation at NOAA in Silver Spring, MD, and begin their first summer internship in early June.
  • At the end of both summer internships, students present the results of their projects at an education and science symposium in Silver Spring, MD (travel expenses paid).

Undergraduate Scholarship Application Link:  https://oedwebapps.iso.noaa.gov/uspa/

Learn more about NOAA,

http://www.noaa.gov/images/onenoaa_cap_lan.mov

NOAA Goals,   http://www.ppi.noaa.gov/goals/

 

U.S. Department of Energy Releases a Teacher Retention Article

This is an excellent article on the retention of good teachers. It is an issue for all schools but for schools serving minority populations, I think the problem is greater. Retaining good teachers is a major concern for any school, but retaining teachers in STEM, particularly those impacting the energy curriculum, becomes a very serious issue for us because of the need for highly qualified STEM teachers amongst all educational institutions

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2014/10/wrong_diagnosis_wrong_prescription_for_understaffing.html

 

 

 

A Student Opportunity – Veterinary – Closes on Friday, October 17, 2014

US. Department of The Interior

JOB SUMMARY:

You too can make a difference in our world.  The work of the US Fish and Wildlife Service is meaningful and varied.  Want to know more about what it is like to work for us?  Click here to watch short podcasts entitled Meet Your New Boss! and Diversity is our Strength

Pathways Intern Program Information:

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-authorities/students-recent-graduates/#url=intern

This position is located in the Wildlife Health Office, Natural Resources Program Center (Center) with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Fort Collins, CO.  The Center collects and synthesizes information that supports management at multiple geographic scales and informs decisions at all organizational levels.  The Center also informs adaptation strategies to climate change and other environmental stressors and assists local manages and staffs on National Wildlife Refuges by providing sound, scientific protocols and data to inform management decisions.  The Veterinary Intern will monitor and address wildlife health issues that could have impact on agricultural resources and public health.

DUTIES:

Reviews scientific proposals and reports to evaluate hypotheses, research design, appropriateness of methods, probability of success, and overall importance to wildlife disease management or science

Develops the annual budget and work plan, as well as facilitating issue identification, prioritization, and effective response

Draft Service-wide plans to respond to new wildlife disease trends and the impacts they may have on livestock and human health

Establishes and maintains liaison with research and management biologists from natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, and universities who have expertise specific to wildlife diseases

Prepares reports and articles for publication in scientific literature and for presentation at professional meetings

Assists the WHO staff in providing veterinary field support for outbreak investigation, monitoring, biological sample collection and processing, surgical procedures, chemical restraint and handling of small and large animals.

Conducts biological field investigations involving wildlife populations, including population health, arthropod vector, and harvest surveys, targeted disease surveillance, and ecological epidemiology.

Assists the WHO staff in working with Regional Refuge and field Biologists to provide training in wildlife health monitoring and surveillance procedures, chemical and physical restraint and handling, and Disease Contingency Plans.

Assists the WHO Staff and the Center Director to provide technical expertise and advice on wildlife population and management issues, specifically regarding monitoring, early detection of, and response to wildlife diseases.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

You must meet ALL qualification requirements outlined within this vacancy by 11:59pm (EST) on the closing date of the announcement.

Pathways Program Requirement:

Applicants meet the following eligibility requirement, and provide documentation such as a copy of your official transcript and/or veteran’s documentation by the closing date of the announcement to be considered:

  • Current students in an accredited college (including 4-year colleges/universities, community colleges, and junior colleges); professional, technical, vocational, and trade school; advanced degree programs; or other qualifying educational institution pursuing a qualifying degree or certificate.

Qualifications:

To qualify for the GS-11 grade level, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the next lower GS-09 grade level in the Federal Service. You must have direct and/or related experience in all of the examples listed below to meet the minimum qualifications for this position. Examples of this experience: veterinary work or school projects documenting veterinary wildlife issues.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:

Your application will be evaluated and rated under the Category Rating and Selection Procedures. We will review your resume and supporting documentation and compare this information to the responses you submitted on the assessment section of this vacancy. Your total documented experience will also be reviewed to determine the category in which you will be placed. Eligible candidates will then be placed for selection consideration into three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified.

Veterans’ preference rules for category rating will be applied. Your rating will be based on both your responses to the Job Specific Questionnaire and the information stated in your resume. The Job Specific questions relate to the following knowledge, skills and abilities required to do the work of this position:

Professional knowledge of wildlife management concepts, principles, practices, and field techniques to manage complex wildlife management issues that involve wildlife health.

Ability to synthesize existing information, apply new scientific findings, developments, and advances to develop recommendations that address long-term wildlife health and management needs that are national and international in scope.

Skill in working effectively with individuals, other agencies, and a wide variety of interest groups for the purpose of coordinating wildlife health efforts and resolving conflicts.

Ability to design and safely conduct under guidance a variety of disease monitoring surveys and other quantitative field investigations, including planning complex logistics in remote areas. Once the application process is complete, a review of your application will be made to ensure you meet the job requirements. To determine if you are qualified for this job, a review of your resume and supporting documentation will be made and compared against your responses to the occupational questionnaire. The rating you receive is based on your responses to the questionnaire. The category determination is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the knowledge, skills and abilities required of this position. If, after reviewing your resume and or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience your rating can and will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating.

BENEFITS:

The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. The following Web addresses are provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees. http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/

OTHER INFORMATION:

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans’ preference, you must provide a copy of your DD-214 (member copy 4) or other proof of eligibility. If you are claiming 10-point veterans’ preference, you must attach a completed SF-15, “Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference” plus the proof required on the SF-15. LACK OF SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION WILL RESULT IN THE AGENCY’S INABILITY TO RECOGNIZE VETERAN STATUS FOR THIS ANNOUNCEMENT.

One or more positions may be filled through this vacancy announcement.

PLEDGE TO APPLICANTS

The Office of Personnel Management and the Partnership for Public Service recognize that a Government’s most important asset is its people.  To attract talented people to the service of the Nation, we believe the application process should enable rather than deter job seekers.  To that end, we will work to ensure a process that reflects these principles.    1) A user-friendly application process that is not unduly burdensome or time consuming.   2) Clear, understandable job announcements and instructions for applying.    3) Timely and informed responses to questions about the requirements and the process.    4) Prompt acknowledgement that their application has been received.    5) Regular updates on the status of their applications as significant decisions are reached.   6) A timely decision-making process.

After Program Completion:

Interns may be converted to a permanent position (or, in some limited circumstances, to a term position lasting 1-4 years) within 120 days of successful completion of the program.

To be eligible for conversion, Interns MUST:

  • Complete at least 640 hours of work experience acquired through the Internship Program
  • Complete their degree or certificate requirements
  • Meet the qualification standards for the position to which the Intern will be converted
  • Meet agency-specific requirements as specified in the Participant’s Agreement, and
  • Perform their job successfully.
  • Agencies may waive up to 320 of the required 640 hours of work for Interns who demonstrate high potential as evidenced by outstanding academic achievement and exceptional job performance.
  • In addition, students working in agencies through third-party intern providers may count up to 320 of the hours they work toward the 640 hour requirement.
  • Time spent under previous Internship Program appointments may count towards required work experience hours.

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

  1. Your Resume
  2. A complete Assessment Questionnaire
  3. Other supporting documents
  4. Photo copies of Official Transcript(s) (Unofficial copies will be accepted)
  5. Veterans Preference Documentation (if applicable)

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, October 17, 2014.

To begin the process, click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account. Follow the prompts to complete the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

If you are unable to upload your supporting documents, you may fax a completed cover page http://staffing.opm.gov/pdf/usascover.pdf  along with your documents using the following Vacancy ID R9-15-1233979-JH.

Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144 If you cannot apply online: Click the following link to view and print the assessment questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire, and Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the assessment questionnairehttp://www.opm.gov./forms/pdf_fill/OPM1203fx.pdf and

  • Fax the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

For this job announcement the following documents are required:

Resume

Assessment Questionnaire

Photo copies of Official Transcript(s)

NOTE: Unofficial Transcripts will be accepted. Official transcripts from an accredited educational institution is required if you are selected for this position.

You can receive credit for education earned outside of the United States if you provide evidence that is comparable to an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.

Veterans Preference documentation (if applicable)

Submitting Documents Include the 6-character Vacancy Identification Number R9-15-1233979-JH

Provide your Social Security Number and full name in the spaces provided or we will not be able to associate your document(s) with the rest of your application. You may submit multiple documents for the same vacancy announcement using one cover page. Fax your cover page and documents to 1-478-757-3144.

Your resume must contain the basic information outlined in the usajobs website: https://help.usajobs.gov/index.php/How_to_create_your_resume.

At a minimum your resume must contain job title (include job series and grade if Federal) duties, starting and ending date (month and year), hours per week worked and salary. If you do not provide the minimum information requested above, this will prevent you from qualifying for this position.

Faxed documents submitted with missing information will not be processed. The following will prevent your documents from being processed: Not using the special cover page mentioned above; Missing, incomplete, or invalid Vacancy Identification Number; Missing or incomplete Social Security Number or name.

AGENCY CONTACT INFO:

Joeanna Headen Phone: (703)358-1743 Email: JOEANNA_HEADEN@FWS.GOV Agency Information: US Fish and Wildlife Service Virginia Division of Human Capital 5275 Leesburg Pike MS-BPHC Falls Church, VA 22041

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT:

Once the online questionnaire is received you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful. After a review of your complete application is made you will be notified of your rating and or referral to the hiring official. If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.

President Obama’s Agenda for Creating Economic Opportunity for Millennials

President Obama’s Agenda for Creating Economic Opportunity for Millennials

*         Today, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers released a new report<http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf> that details key characteristics of the Millennial Generation – the largest, most diverse, and most educated generation in our history – and takes an early look at the generation’s adult economic lives and the impact that this Administration’s policies have had on them.

*        Many Millennials came of age during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but thanks to the hard work of the American people and the policies the President has pursued, we’ve laid a new economic foundation<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/02/remarks-president-economy-northwestern-university> and the United States has come back faster and farther than almost any other nation on Earth.

*         Last week, the President laid out his vision for continuing to build on that foundation for a strong, durable economy with secure middle class jobs. We’re moving forward again and one generation in particular – Millennials – will shape our economy for decades to come.

*         That’s why the President will hold a town hall today and speak directly with Millennials in Los Angeles at Cross Campus, a collaborative workspace and business event venue that brings together a diverse community of freelancers, creative professionals, entrepreneurs, and Venture Capitalist-funded startup teams.

*         The President knows that Millennials – better equipped to overcome our challenges than any previous generation – are crucial to continuing our economic growth and creating good jobs that pay good wages, which is why he’s put in place policies to address the challenges their generation faces by:

o   Investing in our teachers and schools;

o   Making college more affordable and student loan debt more manageable;

o   Building on our technology boom;

o   Expanding access to health coverage and homeownership, and;

o   Providing access to job training and skills programs.

*         The President will continue to act with Congress and on his own where he can to build on this progress to expand opportunity for Millennials and all Americans. He’ll continue to pursue commonsense steps that we could take right now to help our economy immediately and over the long-term.

*         Today’s report explored 15 key facts about the Millennial Generation:

  1. Millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population
  2. Millennials have been shaped by technology
  3. Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work
  4. Millennials have invested in human capital more than previous generations
  5. College-going Millennials are more likely to study social science and applied fields
  6. As college enrollments grow, more students rely on loans to pay for post-secondary education
  7. Millennials are more likely to focus exclusively on studies instead of combining school and work
  8. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Millennials are much more likely to have health insurance coverage during their young adult years
  9. Millennials will contend with the effects of starting their careers during a historic downturn for years to come
  10. Investments in human capital are likely to have a substantial payoff for Millennials
  11. Working Millennials are staying with their early-career employers longer
  12. Millennial women have more labor market equality than previous generations
  13. Millennials tend to get married later than previous generations
  14. Millennials are less likely to be homeowners than young adults in previous generations
  15. College-educated Millennials have moved into urban areas faster than their less educated peers

 

 

 

9/27 Remarks by the President at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

AT CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS AWARDS DINNER

  Walter E. Washington Convention Center

  Washington, D.C.

9:06 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, CBC!  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Everybody, have a seat.  It is good to be with you here tonight.  If it wasn’t black tie I would have worn my tan suit.  (Laughter.)  I thought it looked good.  (Laughter.)

Thank you, Chaka, for that introduction.  Thanks to all of you for having me here this evening. I want to acknowledge the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Chairwoman Marcia Fudge for their outstanding work.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Shuanise Washington, and the CBC Foundation for doing so much to help our young people aim high and reach their potential.

Tonight, I want to begin by paying special tribute to a man with whom all of you have worked closely with; someone who served his country for nearly 40 years as a prosecutor, as a judge, and as Attorney General of the United States:  Mr. Eric Holder.  (Applause.)  Throughout his long career in public service, Eric has built a powerful legacy of making sure that equal justice under the law actually means something; that it applies to everybody — regardless of race, or gender, or religion, or color, creed, disability, sexual orientation.  He has been a great friend of mine.  He has been a faithful servant of the American people.  We will miss him badly.  (Applause.)

This year, we’ve been marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  We honor giants like John Lewis — (applause); unsung heroines like Evelyn Lowery.  We honor the countless Americans, some who are in this room — black, white, students, scholars, preachers, housekeepers, patriots all, who, with their bare hands, reached into the well of our nation’s founding ideals and helped to nurture a more perfect union.  We’ve reminded ourselves that progress is not just absorbing what has been done — it’s advancing what’s left undone.

Even before President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, even as the debate dragged on in the Senate, he was already challenging America to do more and march further, to build a Great Society — one, Johnson said, “where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled.  Where no man who wants work will fail to find it.  Where no citizen will be barred from any door because of his birthplace or his color or his church.  Where peace and security is common among neighbors and possible among nations.”  “This is the world that waits for you,” he said.  “Reach out for it now.  Join the fight to finish the unfinished work.”  To finish the unfinished work.

America has made stunning progress since that time, over the past 50 years — even over the past five years.  But it is the unfinished work that drives us forward.

Some of our unfinished work lies beyond our borders.  America is leading the effort to rally the world against Russian aggression in Ukraine.  America is leading the fight to contain and combat Ebola in Africa.  America is building and leading the coalition that will degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.  As Americans, we are leading, and we don’t shy away from these responsibilities; we welcome them.  (Applause.)  That’s what America does.  And we are grateful to the men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm’s way in service of the country that we all love.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got unfinished work overseas, but we’ve got some unfinished work right here at home.  (Applause.)  After the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have now created 10 million new jobs over the last 54 months.  This is the longest uninterrupted stretch of job growth in our history.  (Applause.)  In our history.  But we understand our work is not done until we get the kind of job creation that means everybody who wants work can a find job.

We’ve done some work on health care, too.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve seen a 26 percent decline in the uninsured rate in America.  (Applause.)  African Americans have seen a 30 percent decline.  And, by the way, the cost of health care isn’t going up as fast anymore either.  Everybody was predicting this was all going to be so expensive.  We’ve saved $800 billion — (applause) — in Medicare because of the work that we’ve done — slowing the cost, improving quality, and improving access.  Despite unyielding opposition, this change has happened just in the last couple years.

But we know our work is not yet done until we get into more communities, help more uninsured folks get covered, especially in those states where the governors aren’t being quite as cooperative as we’d like them to be.  (Applause.)  You know who you are.  It always puzzles me when you decide to take a stand to make sure poor folks in your state can’t get health insurance even though it doesn’t cost you a dime.  That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I won’t go on on that topic.  (Applause.)  We’ve got more work to do.

It’s easy to take a stand when you’ve got health insurance.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m going off script now, but — (laughter) — that’s what happens at the CBC.

Our high school graduation rate is at a record high, the dropout rate is falling, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before.  Last year, the number of children living in poverty fell by 1.4 million — the largest decline since 1966.  (Applause.)  Since I took office, the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate has gone down by about 10 percent.  That’s the first time they’ve declined at the same time in more than 40 years.  Fewer folks in jail.  Crime still going down.  (Applause.)

But our work is not done when too many children live in crumbling neighborhoods, cycling through substandard schools, traumatized by daily violence.  Our work is not done when working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar; when African-American unemployment is still twice as high as white unemployment; when income inequality, on the rise for decades, continues to hold back hardworking communities, especially communities of color.  We’ve got unfinished work.  And we know what to do.  That’s the worst part — we know what to do.

We know we’ve got to invest in infrastructure, and manufacturing, and research and development that creates new jobs.  We’ve got to keep rebuilding a middle class economy with ladders of opportunity, so that hard work pays off and you see higher wages and higher incomes, and fair pay for women doing the same work as men, and workplace flexibility for parents in case a child gets sick or a parent needs some help.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to build more Promise Zones partnerships to support local revitalization of hard-hit communities.  We’ve got to keep investing in early education.  We want to bring preschool to every four-year-old in this country.  (Applause.)  And we want every child to have an excellent teacher.  And we want to invest in our community colleges and expand Pell Grants for more students.  And I’m going to keep working with you to make college more affordable.  Because every child in America, no matter who she is, no matter where she’s born, no matter how much money her parents have, ought to be able to fulfill her God-given potential.  That’s what we believe.  (Applause.)

So I just want everybody to understand — we have made enormous progress.  There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not better off than when I took office.  (Applause.)  Unemployment down.  Deficits down.  Uninsured down.  Poverty down.  Energy production up.  Manufacturing back.  Auto industry back.  But — and I just list these things just so if you have a discussion with one of your friends — (laughter) — and they’re confused.  Stock market up.  Corporate balance sheet strong.  In fact, the folks who are doing the best, they’re the ones who complain the most.  (Laughter and applause.)  So you can just point these things out.

But we still have to close these opportunity gaps.  And we have to close the justice gap — how justice is applied, but also how it is perceived, how it is experienced.  (Applause.)  Eric Holder understands this.  (Applause.)  That’s what we saw in Ferguson this summer, when Michael Brown was killed and a community was divided.  We know that the unrest continues.   And Eric spent some time with the residents and police of Ferguson, and the Department of Justice has indicated that its civil rights investigation is ongoing.

Now, I won’t comment on the investigation.  I know that Michael’s family is here tonight.  (Applause.)  I know that nothing any of us can say can ease the grief of losing a child so soon.  But the anger and the emotion that followed his death awakened our nation once again to the reality that people in this room have long understood, which is, in too many communities around the country, a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement.

Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement, guilty of walking while black, or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.  We know that, statistically, in everything from enforcing drug policy to applying the death penalty to pulling people over, there are significant racial disparities.  That’s just the statistics.  One recent poll showed that the majority of Americans think the criminal justice system doesn’t treat people of all races equally.  Think about that.  That’s not just blacks, not just Latinos or Asians or Native Americans saying things may not be unfair.  That’s most Americans.

And that has a corrosive effect — not just on the black community; it has a corrosive effect on America.  It harms the communities that need law enforcement the most.  It makes folks who are victimized by crime and need strong policing reluctant to go to the police because they may not trust them.  And the worst part of it is it scars the hearts of our children.  It scars the hearts of the white kids who grow unnecessarily fearful of somebody who doesn’t look like them.  It stains the heart of black children who feel as if no matter what he does, he will always be under suspicion.  That is not the society we want.  It’s not the society that our children deserve.  (Applause.)  Whether you’re black or white, you don’t want that for America.

It was interesting — Ferguson was used by some of America’s enemies and critics to deflect attention from their shortcomings overseas; to undermine our efforts to promote justice around the world.  They said, well, look at what’s happened to you back home.

But as I said this week at the United Nations, America is special not because we’re perfect; America is special because we work to address our problems, to make our union more perfect.  We fight for more justice.  (Applause.)  We fight to cure what ails us.  We fight for our ideals, and we’re willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.  And we address our differences in the open space of democracy — with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and religion; and with an unyielding belief that people who love their country can change it.  That’s what makes us special — not because we don’t have problems, but because we work to fix them.  And we will continue to work to fix this.

And to that end, we need to help communities and law enforcement build trust, build understanding, so that our neighborhoods stay safe and our young people stay on track.  And under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has launched a national effort to do just that.  He’s also been working to make the criminal justice system smarter and more effective by addressing unfair sentencing disparities, changing department policies on charging mandatory minimums, promoting stronger reentry programs for those who have paid their debt to society.  (Applause.)

And we need to address the unique challenges that make it hard for some of our young people to thrive.  For all the success stories that exist in a room like this one, we all know relatives, classmates, neighbors who were just as smart as we were, just as capable as we were, born with the same light behind their eyes, the same joy, the same curiosity about the world — but somehow they didn’t get the support they needed, or the encouragement they needed, or they made a mistake, or they missed an opportunity; they weren’t able to overcome the obstacles that they faced.

And so, in February, we launched My Brother’s Keeper.  (Applause.)  And I was the first one to acknowledge government can’t play the only, or even the primary, role in the lives of our children.  But what we can do is bring folks together, and that’s what we’re doing — philanthropies, business leaders, entrepreneurs, faith leaders, mayors, educators, athletes, and the youth themselves — to examine how can we ensure that our young men have the tools they need to achieve their full potential.

And next week, I’m launching My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, asking every community in the country — big cities and small towns, rural counties, tribal nations — to publicly commit to implementing strategies that will ensure all young people can succeed, starting from the cradle, all the way to college and a career.  It’s a challenge to local leaders to follow the evidence and use the resources on what works for our kids.  And we’ve already got 100 mayors, county officials, tribal leaders, Democrats, Republicans signed on.  And we’re going to keep on signing them up in the coming weeks and months.  (Applause.)  But they’re going to need you — elected leaders, business leaders, community leaders — to make this effort successful.  We need all of us to come together to help all of our young people address the variety of challenges they face.

And we’re not forgetting about the girls, by the way.  I got two daughters — I don’t know if you noticed.  (Laughter.)  African American girls are more likely than their white peers also to be suspended, incarcerated, physically harassed.  Black women struggle every day with biases that perpetuate oppressive standards for how they’re supposed to look and how they’re supposed to act.  Too often, they’re either left under the hard light of scrutiny, or cloaked in a kind of invisibility.

So in addition to the new efforts on My Brother’s Keeper, the White House Council for Women and Girls has for years been working on issues affecting women and girls of color, from violence against women, to pay equity, to access to health care.  And you know Michelle has been working on that.  (Applause.)  Because she doesn’t think our daughters should be treated differently than anybody else’s son.  I’ve got a vested interest in making sure that our daughters have the same opportunities as boys do.  (Applause.)

So that’s the world we’ve got to reach for — the world where every single one of our children has the opportunity to pursue their measure of happiness.  That’s our unfinished work.  And we’re going to have to fight for it.  We’ve got to stand up for it.  And we have to vote for it.  We have to vote for it.  (Applause.)

All around the country, wherever I see folks, they always say, oh, Barack, we’re praying for you — boy, you’re so great; look, you got all gray hair, you looking tired.  (Laughter.)  We’re praying for you.  Which I appreciate.  (Laughter.)  But I tell them, after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he immediately moved on to what he called “the meat in the coconut” — a voting rights act bill.  And some of his administration argued that’s too much, it’s too soon.  But the movement knew that if we rested after the Civil Rights Act, then all we could do was pray that somebody would enforce those rights.   (Applause.)

So whenever I hear somebody say they’re praying for me, I say “thank you.”  Thank you — I believe in the power of prayer.  But we know more than prayer.  We need to vote.  (Applause.)  We need to vote.  That will be helpful.  It will not relieve me of my gray hair, but it will help me pass some bills.  (Laughter.)

Because people refused to give in when it was hard, we get to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act next year.  Until then, we’ve got to protect it.  We can’t just celebrate it; we’ve got to protect it.  Because there are people still trying to pass voter ID laws to make it harder for folks to vote.  And we’ve got to get back to our schools and our offices and our churches, our beauty shops, barber shops, and make sure folks know there’s an election coming up, they need to know how to register, and they need to know how and when to vote.

We’ve got to tell them to push back against the cynics; prove everybody wrong who says that change isn’t possible.  Cynicism does not fix anything.  Cynicism is very popular in America sometimes.  It’s propagated in the media.  But cynicism didn’t put anybody on the moon.  Cynicism didn’t pass the Voting Rights Act.  Hope is what packed buses full of freedom riders. Hope is what led thousands of black folks and white folks to march from Selma to Montgomery.  Hope is what got John Lewis off his back after being beaten within an inch of his life, and chose to keep on going.  (Applause.)

Cynicism is a choice, but hope is a better choice.  And our job right now is to convince the people who are privileged to represent to join us in finishing that fight that folks like John started.  Get those souls to the polls.  Exercise their right to vote.  And if we do, then I guarantee you we’ve got a brighter future ahead.

Thank you, God bless you.  Keep praying.  But go out there and vote.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END                9:29 P.M. EDT

Diverse Issues in Higher Education Webinar: Driving Student Success at Minority-Serving Institutions

WEBINAR DETAILS

Complimentary Driving Student Success at Minority-Serving Institutions: National, Research and Institutional Perspectives

Date: Wednesday, November 5

Time: 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern

PRESENTERS:

Dr. Michael Nettles
Senior Vice President
Policy Evaluation & Research Center (PERC)
Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Ross Markle, Ph.D.
Senior Research and Assessment Advisor
Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Ontario S. Wooden, Ph.D.
Dean of the University College North Carolina Central University

Background

Student success and retention are important topics in higher education and a significant challenge for most colleges and universities, particularly minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Research over the past several decades has demonstrated the importance of looking beyond standard admissions and placement tests for a holistic understanding of the critical factors that most greatly influence student success — academic skills, commitment, self-management and social support. However, understanding alone won’t move the needle — institutions need to use this information in a comprehensive and systemic way to reap results.

Join this complimentary Diverse/Educational Testing Service (ETS) Webinar, Driving Student Success at Minority-Serving Institutions: National, Research and Institutional Perspectives, to hear national, research and institutional perspectives on how to drive student success rates at MSIs. Learn about the steps you can take to influence your own institution’s success rates as early as your next incoming class. In this informative webinar, participants will:

  • Understand the national and policy perspectives on student success in the MSI community.
  • Learn about the research that points to the importance of non-cognitive factors in assessment.
  • Discover how holistic assessment can drive success rates.
  • Explore examples of how other MSIs have successfully implemented holistic assessment to achieve results.

Acquire the tools to improve their own institutions’ retention and success rates.

See you at the webinar!

Department of Education Awards $75 Million in “First in the World” Grants to 24 Colleges and Universities

Department Awards $75 Million in “First in the World” Grants to 24 Colleges and Universities

Grants will support innovative strategies at colleges and universities that make higher education more accessible and help guide students toward completion

To drive innovations in higher education that increase college completion, value and affordability, the Education Department today awarded $75 million to 24 colleges and universities under the new “First in the World” (FITW) grant program.

Through FITW, the Obama Administration will support postsecondary institutions’ efforts to develop and evaluate new approaches that can expand college access and improve student learning while reducing costs.  In May, the Department announced this year’s grant competition   as part of President Obama’s ambitious agenda to increase postsecondary access and completion.

“The First in the World grant competition is a key part of President Obama’s agenda to foster innovative ideas that help keep college affordable, increase quality and improve educational outcomes for our students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The Department is proud to support the wide range of innovation at colleges and universities across the nation that can dramatically enhance student outcomes.”

Nearly 500 applications were submitted for this FITW grant competition.  The 24 colleges and universities selected for this initial year of awards represent 17 states, 19 public, private, and nonprofit 4-year institutions and five public and private two-year institutions.  Six of the 24 winning applications—including an HBCU—are from minority serving institutions (MSIs), which will receive about $20 million in funding.  Many of the grantees have additional organizational partners, such as other postsecondary institutions, non-profits, and businesses.

All projects will address at least one of these priorities: increasing college access and completion, increasing community college transfer rates, increasing STEM enrollment and completion, and reducing time to completion.   They include an array of innovations, such as: developing new project-based majors that allow for self-pacing and acceleration; developing an online experience for adult students that incorporates virtual learning communities and wraparound coaching; expanding access to digital content for students with disabilities, and implementing a game-based tool that gives high school students an understanding of the college search and financing process for use in mentoring programs.  As part of the evidence-based program, grantees are required to have a strong evaluation plan to measure the effectiveness of their innovations in helping students succeed. All grants are for a four-year duration.

Examples of funded projects are:

  • Hampton University in Virginia, an HBCU, will use its $3.5 million grant to redesign many of its courses to entail more project-based learning and technology tools, benefitting more than 1000 students over its 4-year duration.
  • Purdue University in Indiana, a public 4-year institution in Indiana, will work with its partners in the University Innovation Alliance to use its $2.3 million grant to support  STEM undergraduates, particularly women and underrepresented groups, by redesigning large-lecture courses to more fully engage students through active learning interventions.  Nearly 10,000 students will benefit over the course of the 4-year grant.
  • LaGuardia Community College in New York will use its $2.9 million grant to strengthen its curriculum by developing an integrated set of tools to increase student engagement and success, including the use of ePortfolios, learning analytics, and outcomes assessments. The changes will support thousands of high-risk students as they move from LaGuaradia’s non-credit program to academic enrollment as well as enrolled students moving toward graduation.

As the projects are further developed, the Department will convene for information sharing and the exchange of best practices to broaden the impact of their innovations on a wider student population.

For the Education FY2015 budget, Secretary Duncan has requested $100 million to expand support for the First in the World fund.  The request also asks for $75 million for College Success Grants for Minority-Serving Institutions, which would make competitive awards to minority-serving institutions designated under Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act.

2014 First In The World Grantees (FITW)

Alabama

Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville—– $3,175,302

Alicia Simmons, asimmons@jsu.edu,  (256) 782-8145

Arizona

Arizona State University, Tempe —–$3,999,955

Jeanne Wilcox, mjwilcox@asu.edu, (480) 965-0158

California

University of Southern California, Los Angeles —–$3,203,257

William Tierney, wgtiern@usc.edu (213) 740-7218

Georgia

Georgia Tech, Atlanta —–$3,800,000

Christopher Lee, christopher.lee@amac.gatech.edu, (404) 894-8000

Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw —–$3,209,405

Jennifer Wade-Berg, jwade@kennesaw.edu, (707) 423-6630

Central Georgia Technical College, Warner Robins —–$3,215,009

Nimisha Raval, nraval@centralgatech.edu, (478) 757-2588

Indiana

Indiana State University, Terre Haute —–$1,627,322

Joshua Powers, joshua.powers@indstate.edu, ((812) 237-8378

Purdue University, West Lafayette —–$2,373,003

Chantal Levesque-Bristol, cbristol@purdue.edu, (765) 496-6424

Kentucky

Gateway Technical and Community College, Florence —–$3,327,881

Amber Decker, amber.decker@kctcs.edu, (859) 442-1147

Massachusetts

Bay Path University, Longmeadow —–$3,548,322

David Demers, ddemers@baypath.edu, (413) 565-1315

Northeastern University, Boston—–$3,920,926

Kevin Bell, k.bell@new.edu, (617) 373-6603

Michigan

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo —–$3,217,511

Andrea Beach, Andrea.beach@wmich.edu, (269) 387-1725

Minnesota

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis—–$2,828,912

Geoffrey Maruyama, Geoff@umn.edu, (612) 625-5861

Mississippi

Delta State University, Cleveland —–$1,660,957

Christy Riddle, criddle@deltastate.edu, (662)846-4336

North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—–$3,030,323

Abigail Panter, panter@unc.edu, (919) 962,4012

New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester —–$3,953,360

Cathrael Kazin, c.kasin@snhu.edu, (603) 314-1420

New York

Research Foundation for SUNY/Oswego, Albany—–$2,885,126

Lorrie Clemo, lorrie.clemo@oswego.edu; (315) 312-2290

LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City —–$2,908,031

Bret Eynon, beyond@lagcc.cuny.edu, (718) 482-5405

The College of New Rochelle—–$3,998,781

Ana Fontoura, afontouro@cnr.edu, (914) 654-5456

Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College—–$1,653,186

Elizabeth McCormack, emccorma@brynmawr.edu (610) 526-5356

South Dakota

South Dakota State University, Brookings —– $3,599,996

Marysz Rames, marysz.rames@sdstate.edu, (605) 688-4493

Texas

Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi —–$3,301,524

Patricia Spaniol-Mathews, patricia.spaniol-mathews@tamucc.edu

Lee College District, Baytown —–$2,690,954

Victoria Marron, vmarron@lee.edu, (281) 425-6501

Virginia

Hampton University, Hampton—–$3,500,0000

Ira Walker, ira.walker@hampton.edu, (757) 727-5397

Invitation for ACA Conference Call with Secretary Arne Duncan (this Wednesday)

Please join us for a conference call with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the second year of open enrollment (November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015). Secretary Duncan will be joined by Dr. Nadine Gracia, Director of the Office of Minority Health, and Catherine Oakar, Director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Wednesday, October 1st at 2:00pm -3:00pm

For conference call information please click here:

https://www.mymeetings.com/emeet/rsvp/index.jsp?customHeader=mymeetings&Conference_ID=8897995&passcode=9845223

For inquires please email Marquita.Sanders@hhs.gov.