AAPI Weekly Highlights: Nominate AAPI Women Champions of Change

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AAPI Highlights, March 11, 2013


Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Watch President Obama sign the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and read about the AAPI Women Champions of Change, the WHIAAPI summer internship program, the Nomination Process for the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs, and more agency announcements.


“No One Should Have to Live in Fear of Violence” 


On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed a bill that both strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. Thanks to this bipartisan agreement, thousands of women and men across the country who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking will be able to access resources they need in their communities to help heal from their trauma. In addition, thousands of law enforcement officers will be better equipped to stop violence before it starts, and respond to calls of help when they are needed. Read the post and watch the signing ceremony here.

Announcing AAPI Women Champions of Change


Across the country, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women are doing extraordinary things to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future.  In business, the arts, civil rights, health, and so many other fields, AAPI women are helping to improve the lives of their fellow Americans.


This May, on the occasion of AAPI Heritage Month, the White House Office of Public Engagement, White House Council on Women and Girls, and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will honor a small group of AAPI women as Champions of Change. And we want your help! Members of the public are invited to submit nominations online until Friday, March 29, 2013. A small group of AAPI women who represent diverse experiences and backgrounds will be honored as Champions of Change and invited to the White House for an event in early May. Learn more here.


WHIAAPI Announcements


Internship Opportunities  


WHIAAPI continues to accept Summer 2013 Internship applications. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2013. WHIAAPI is seeking highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in AAPI issues and have outstanding research, writing, and computer skills. If you are interested in applying, please send a statement that describes (1) one issue that affects the AAPI community, (2) a strategy that you would implement at the Initiative to address that issue, and (3) the organizations and/or federal agencies with whom you would collaborate. 


The White House Internship application for the Fall 2013 program is also open.  The deadline to apply is April 7, 2013.  White House Interns dedicate their time, talents, energy, and service to better the White House, the community, and the nation. They become a part of the White House team, and the assignments given to an intern on any given day could include conducting research, managing incoming inquiries, attending meetings, writing memos, and staffing events. They also participate in a weekly speaker series with senior staff members and small group meetings exploring different policy aspects of the Executive Office of the President through speakers, discussion, off-site field trips, and service projects.


Nomination Process for the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs


The President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs is comprised of 20 individuals, selected by the President, who represent the diversity and expertise of the AAPI community.  Over the last three years, the Commission has acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ of this Administration representing and advocating for the AAPI community.  To the extent Commission vacancies may arise, we encourage the community to nominate those leaders who you believe represent the best and brightest the AAPI community has to offer.


Please send an email to WHIAAPICommission@ed.gov providing the following information:


o             Full name

o             Title/Position

o             Substantive area (health, education, business etc…)

o             Ethnic background

o             City/State

o             Biography

o             Resume

o             A brief write-up on why this person would be a good candidate


Leveraging Technology and Modernizing Government Boosts AAPI Communities


Many compare the internet of today to another communications game changer – the introduction of the printing press five centuries earlier. However, the internet’s impact may be even more profound. Read more about the issue here.


Agency Announcements


Justice Department Settles with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey over Discrimination against People with Hepatitis B 

On March 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has reached a settlement with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School (UMDNJ) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).   The settlement resolves complaints that the UMDNJ School of Medicine and the UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine unlawfully excluded applicants because they have hepatitis B.   This is the first ADA settlement ever reached by the Justice Department on behalf of people with hepatitis B. In 2011, the two applicants in this matter applied and were accepted to the UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine, and one of them was also accepted to the UMDNJ School of Medicine. The schools later revoked the acceptances when the schools learned that the applicants have hepatitis B. Read more here. 

Protect Your Business from Spring Weather Threats


Winter snows are sometimes followed by floods. Severe storms—sometimes in the form of deadly tornadoes or massive rainfall—can wreak havoc across the U.S. during spring. There are many low-cost, efficient steps you can take now to make sure your company, clients and employees are safe in the months to come. Join the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery on Tuesday, March 12 at 2 p.m. EDT for a free webinar on best practices for mitigating spring weather risks. These preparedness tips are based on real-life recovery experiences from business owners. More details here.


The Department of Labor Makes U.S. Workforce Data Available Easily Accessible to the Public


If you've ever wanted to better understand how to interpret and use the vast set of data produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, now you can. The Employment and Training Administration has just issued six new Quick-Lesson Podcasts to help individuals find and use workforce statistics on unemployment, worker dislocation, projections, industries, the economy, and states and localities. To access the new series of podcast instruction guides, click here.


Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming Request Flexibility from No Child Left Behind


On March 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced it has received requests from Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. Since fall 2011, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law's rigid, top-down prescriptions. The Department has approved requests from 34 states and D.C., with other applications still pending. Read more here.


Education Department Releases New School-Level Graduation Rate Data to Better Inform Parents, District Leaders


On March 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education released provisional school-level graduation rates for 2010-11 – the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. The data release furthers the Department's efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about their schools and ensure all schools are preparing students for college and careers. Previously, the variety of methods states used to report high school graduation rates made comparisons among states unreliable. While the new measure is not comparable to previously reported rates, it provides a more accurate snapshot of high school graduation and can inform schools' efforts to improve going forward. States, districts and schools can use the new, common metric to promote greater accountability and to develop strategies that will reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide. Read more here.


CNCS Recognizes Higher Education Institutions for their Service


The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is excited to announce the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. A total of 690 higher education institutions were named to this year’s Honor Roll. Combined, the Honor Roll awardees engaged 3.1 million students in community service for a total of 118 million service hours. That’s 2.5 billion dollars in value to communities across the country. Of these awardees, five institutions were selected as Presidential Winners. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The institutions were cited for their achievements in general community service or in one of two special focus areas which align with the President’s education and innovation priorities: the Promise Neighborhoods model and Early Childhood Education. Watch the video and read about the recipients here. 

U.S. Department of Labor Celebrates 100 Years


For 100 years, the U.S. Department of Labor has been promoting the welfare of working Americans. In his proclamation noting this anniversary, President Obama said, "the Department of Labor is working to restore the basic bargain that built our country: that no matter what you look like or where you come from, if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead. It is forging new ladders of opportunity so a generation of workers can get the 21st century skills and training they need. We recognize the dedicated public servants at the Department of Labor who have helped move our country forward, and we reaffirm our commitment to giving America's workers the chance to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.” Read more here.


DOL VETS & ETA Working to ensure that Training and Skills Learned by Military Personnel are Transferrable.


The U.S. Department of Labor is working to ensure that the training and skills military personnel learn while in the service are "transferable to civilian jobs," Keith Kelly, the Assistant Secretary of Labor who heads the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), said on March 4, 2013. VETS and the Employment and Training Administration are working together to make sure "that work experience obtained in the military is protected and recognized" after service men and women leave the military, he said. Kelly also spoke about how military personnel are now learning to write better resumes, conduct thorough job searches and apply for work online thanks to a curriculum upgrade in the Transition Assistance Program. Read more here.


VA Will Use ‘Preliminary Findings’ To Reduce Verification Denials


To speed eligibility determinations of Veteran-owned small businesses for Department of Veterans Affairs' “Veterans First” contracts, VA will allow applicants the opportunity to correct minor deficiencies before an initial denial is issued. Starting May 1, VA will begin providing preliminary findings to applicants before completing a comprehensive review of their submissions. This is expected to greatly reduce the number of VA’s initial denials and subsequent requests for reconsideration from companies. “A large percentage of verification denials are due to single points of failure that can be easily and quickly corrected. This improved process will enable us to bring more deserving Veteran business owners into VA’s system,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Our Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) will refine and measure the new process through pilot testing that has begun.” Read more here.


Department of Justice Awards $1 Million to the National Crime Prevention Council to Support Gun Safety Campaign


The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awarded $1 million to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to support the development of a National Public Education Campaign on the subject of responsible gun ownership and safe gun storage.   With the award, NCPC will create, produce, and distribute television, radio, and outdoor Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that encourage gun owners to safely store their firearms so that they do not fall into the wrong hands.   The campaign will also emphasize the importance of immediately reporting lost or stolen guns to local law enforcement to ensure public safety. Read more here.


USDA Kicks Off National Nutrition Month by Highlighting Breakfast


On March 4, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off an exciting National Nutrition Month by marking the start of National School Breakfast Week (March 4-8), a time that highlights the importance of promoting healthy choices for our nation's children throughout the school day. "Making sure that children get the best start to their day is part of our commitment to providing all of our children access to safe, nutritious, and well-balanced meals," said Secretary Vilsack. "Eating breakfast helps maintain a healthy weight and gives our youngest generation the greatest chance at success." Every year, USDA partners with the School Nutrition Association to celebrate National School Breakfast Week. Read more here.


HHS and States Move Forward to Offer Quality, Affordable Health Coverage


On March 7, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that more states are moving forward to implement the health care law and establishing Health Insurance Marketplaces. HHS conditionally approved Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia to operate State Partnership Marketplaces, which will be ready for open enrollment in October 2013. “HHS will continue to work collaboratively with all states to build the Marketplace,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Working together, we will be ready in seven months when consumers will be able to use the new marketplace to easily purchase quality, affordable health insurance plans.” Read more here.


HHS Announces 2013 Agenda to Bring Down Costs and Improve Quality of Care through Implementation of Health Information Technology


On March 6, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, M.D., announced HHS’s plan to accelerate health information exchange (HIE) and build a seamless and secure flow of information essential to transforming the health care system. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are improving the way care is delivered while lowering costs,” said Acting Administrator Tavenner. “We are already seeing benefits, such as a reduction in hospital readmissions due to these reforms. Health IT and the secure exchange of information across providers are crucial to reforming the system, and must be a routine part of care delivery.” Read more here.