AAPI Weekly Highlights: Feb. 20 - Community Conference Call and Twitter Town Hall

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 AAPI Highlights, February 19, 2013

Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans, the AAPI Community Conference Call and Twitter Town Hall, the release of WHIAAPI’s Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Agency Plans, the AAPI Texas Regional Conference, and other agency announcements.  


President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans


“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”


President Barack Obama

                 State of the Union, February 12, 2013


The beginning years of a child’s life are critical for building the early foundation needed for success later in school and in life. Leading economists agree that high-quality early learning programs can help level the playing field for children from lower-income families on vocabulary, social and emotional development, while helping students to stay on track and stay engaged in the early elementary grades. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t. Read the President’s plan here and about his recent visit to Decatur, GA, where he discussed his plan here.


President Obama Calls for Investments in the Middle Class, Education, and Infrastructure in State of the Union Address

Last Tuesday, President Obama outlined his plan for a thriving middle class and a strong America.

"Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis," he said, "and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger."

The President described a strategy that will grow the economy from the middle class out, through investments in manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure, and education without adding a dime to the deficit.

The President's plan includes:

  • Making America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing
  • Equipping every American with the skills they need to do those jobs
  • Ensuring hard work leads to a decent living
  • Cutting the deficit in a balanced way. 

You can also find additional fact sheets, video of the enhanced broadcast of the State of the Union with charts, infographics, important specifics and more information on whitehouse.gov/sotu

 An Everyday Hero: Menchu de Luna Sanchez’s View from the First Lady’s Box

For nearly three decades, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the President’s State of the Union Address have been invited to join the First Lady in her viewing box. On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, one guest in the First Lady’s box was Menchu de Luna Sanchez, a Registered Nurse at New York University Langone Medical Center. When Hurricane Sandy cut the power at NYU Langone Medical Center, Sanchez devised a plan to transport twenty at-risk infants to intensive care units around the city. She organized the nurses and doctors to carefully carry the babies down eight flights of stairs with only cell phones to light the way. Even as her own home was flooding, she thought only of protecting the babies in her care. Read the full post here.

WHIAAPI Announcements


Feb. 20 - AAPI Community Conference Call and Twitter Town Hall #aapiWH


Join Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President Chris Lu, WHIAAPI Executive Director Kiran Ahuja, and Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh on Wednesday, February 20th at 3:00 p.m. EDT for a conference call and Twitter Town Hall to discuss the Obama administration’s accomplishments on behalf of the AAPI community, including the release of the report, “Continuing Progress for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community, Federal Agency Accomplishments” and the launch of an Asian American Pacific Islander Theme Study. The call will also discuss current and future efforts towards increasing access and participation among AAPIs in federal programs.


The Twitter Town Hall will serve as an opportunity to concurrently engage in Q&A with Initiative staff during the teleconference. The Twitter Town Hall will be open for questions beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Join @whitehouseAAPI using the hashtag: #aapiWH. Learn more here.


When: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 

Start Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT (Please dial in 10 minutes early) 

Dial In: 888-566-5907 



Fiscal Year 2013 AAPI Federal Agency Plans Released 


On February 11, 2013, WHIAAPI released the Fiscal Year 2013 federal agency plans and a report entitled “Continuing Progress for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community, Federal Agency Accomplishments.  The report showcases the accomplishments made by the federal government to address the needs and improve the quality of life of AAPIs across the country. The Initiative has partnered with 23 federal departments and agencies to develop and implement specific plans that will increase the participation of AAPIs in federal programs and services. Read about the plans here.


AAPI Texas Regional Conference - Houston, TX


On Saturday, February 23, 2013, at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, join senior Obama officials for a day of open dialogue, where the community and government will work together to empower the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Texas. The conference is free and open to the public. Learn more about the conference here and register here.


Agency Announcements


USCIS Vietnamese Public Engagement – How to Become a U.S. Citizen


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to attend a free Vietnamese language engagement on the naturalization process. Representatives from USCIS will be on hand to answer your questions in Vietnamese about becoming a U.S. citizen. The training will take place on Thursday, February 21, 2013; 2:00 – 3:30 PM PST, at USCIS Santa Ana Field Office, 34 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana, CA 92701. A teleconference is also available at 1-888-989-4980 with passcode: “Giao tiep” and a live stream at www.uscis.gov/live/giaotiep.

For more information regarding this event, email public.engagement@uscis.dhs.gov and write “Giao tiep” in the subject line or click here. To learn more about USCIS’s multilingual resources, please visit www.uscis.gov/multilingual.


SBA Offers Webinar Series Promoting Entrepreneurship Education and Small Business Growth


The U.S. Small Business Administration will host a series of webinars in recognition of the 7th Annual National Entrepreneurship Week. The emphasis will be on how the next generation of small business owners can leverage crowd-funding as an alternative finance option to start and grow their businesses. The webinars are scheduled from February 19-21, 2013, daily at 3:00 p.m. (ET). For more details on each webinar and steps to participate, click here.


Education Department Releases College Scorecard to Help Students Choose Best College for Them


The U.S. Department of Education released an interactive College Scorecard, which provides students and families the critical information they need to make smart decisions about where to enroll for higher education. The College Scorecard – as part of President Obama’s continued efforts to hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality – highlights key indicators about the cost and value of institutions across the country to help students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and is consistent with their educational and career goals. Read more about it here.


HUD Awards $7.3 million to provide Training, Affordable Housing Consulting for Native Americans, Alaskans and Hawaiians


On February 13, 2013, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that eight organizations will receive a total of $7.3 million in grants to improve housing conditions in Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. “These organizations have a proven track record of assisting tribal communities in their work to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing to members of these communities,” said Donovan. The grant recipients include the Pacific American Foundation, an organization based in Hawaii. Read more about the grantees here.


VA Hires More Mental Health Professionals to Expand Access for Veterans


On February 11, 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has made significant progress in providing increased access to mental health care services for our Nation’s Veterans by hiring new mental health professionals. Last year, Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced a goal to hire 1,600 new mental health clinical providers and 300 administrative support staff. The President’s Aug. 31, 2012 Executive Order requires the positions to be filled by June 30, 2013. As of Jan. 29, VA has hired 1,058 mental health clinical providers and 223 administrative support staff in support of this specific goal. Read the full statement here.


HUD & HHS Partner to Provide Permanent Housing & Services to Low-Income People with Disabilities


The U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have contributed nearly $98 million in funding to 13 state housing agencies to provide rental assistance for low-income people with disabilities. The funding will help prevent homelessness and placement of people in institutions. The funding comes from the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, which makes it possible for low-income people with disabilities to live in integrated settings instead of nursing homes. Read more here.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Addresses Access to Credit for Veterans, Young and Beginning Farmers


On February 14, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talked with veterans, young, beginning and socially-disadvantaged producers at a community center in San Antonio, Texas, about USDA's work to expand credit for their farming operations. USDA is hearing from excited producers all across the country about USDA's new microloan program, designed to help small and family operations secure loans under $35,000. Since 2009, said Vilsack, USDA has continued to expand the overall number of loans to beginning farmers and ranchers as well as its lending to socially-disadvantaged producers by significant margins. Read more here.


 Grant Opportunities


HRSA Announces Three New Funding Opportunities


On February 13, 2013, the HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently issued three new Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. This includes funding for Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Education Programs. The deadline for this program is March 22, 2013. To read more, click here. 


SAMHSA Grant Opportunity: Grants to Expand Care Coordination through the Use of Technology-Assisted Care in Targeted Areas of Need


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2013 Grants to Expand Care Coordination through the Use of Technology-Assisted Care in Targeted Areas of Need (TCE-TAC). The purpose of the TCE-TAC Program is to expand and/or enhance the capacity of substance abuse treatment providers to serve persons in treatment who have been underserved because of lack of access to treatment in their immediate community due to transportation concerns, an inadequate number of substance abuse treatment providers in their community, and/or financial constraints. Click here for more information on this grant.


HRSA Grant Opportunity: Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) Program


HRSA is seeking applications for the Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) Program. NWD grants are awarded to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals who are from disadvantaged backgrounds (including racial and ethnic minorities under-represented among registered nurses) by providing (1) student scholarships or stipends for diploma or associate degree nurses to enter a bridge or degree completion program, and (2) student scholarships or stipends for accelerated nursing degree programs, pre-entry preparation, advanced education preparation, and retention activities. The application deadline is March 8, 2013. Click here for more information on this grant.


EPA Invites Communities to Apply for Smart Growth Assistance


On February 13, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited applications from communities interested in exploring barriers to smart growth and testing innovative strategies that can create healthier, more sustainable places to live, work, and play. EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program provides technical assistance to help communities grow in ways that improve the local economy, the environment, and people’s health. The program aims to help applicants develop solutions to local challenges, such as managing stormwater, increasing transit-oriented development, and adapting to climate change, and to share those solutions with other communities. EPA will be accepting applications from tribal, local, regional, and state governments and nonprofit organizations that have partnered with a governmental entity for their request for assistance. Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2013. EPA will provide assistance to three to four communities selected from this round of applications. To learn more, click here.