President Obama to Cities: “You’re Part of the Reason Why America is Coming Back”

President Obama addresses delegates at the Congressional City Conference March 9, 2015

WASHINGTON - President Obama today addressed the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference in Washington to speak about the importance of local leadership and announce a new initiative to partner with cities, higher education and the private sector to expand access to tech jobs in communities across the country.

Addressing the more than 2,000 city leaders and delegates, President Obama said, "You don't have a lot of time for gridlock. You've got to get the job done." He added, "People are expecting you to deliver. And you're part of the reason why America is coming back."

The new initiative, TechHire, is multi-sector effort and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy. The initiative includes universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches such as "coding bootcamps" and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job, often in just a few months.

"Success is going to rest on folks like you -- on mayors, councilmembers, local leaders -- because you've got the power to bring your communities together and seize this incredible economic development opportunity that could change the way we think about training and hiring the workers of tomorrow," said President Obama, referring to TechHire.

The nation's cities and towns are at the heart of the innovation economy, working with entrepreneurs and the education and business communities to create the environment for success and prepare and connect the workforce to high tech jobs. NLC recently announced that the Multi-City Innovation Campaign, a program that helps spur civic technology and innovation across the country, will expand to 25 communities under NLC's leadership in 2015.

The National League of Cities has worked in partnership with the Obama Administration to change the federal government's approach to better match city needs. "President Obama helped America's cities rise from the ashes of the Great Recession, build transit and roads, protect the health of our residents, and improve the lives of our young people," said NLC President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The National League of Cities and its member cities have partnered with the Administration on programs including Let's Move! Cities, Towns & Counties and My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge. In addition, NLC has productive formal partnerships with the Departments of Education, Interior and Housing and Urban Development.

Following the President's address, members of the National League of Cities this week have more than 100 meetings scheduled with members of Congress and to promote e-fairness, passage of a long-term transportation bill, and the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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