Asian American and Pacific Islander Business Leaders Briefing

Uploaded by whitehouse on 06.02.2012

Eddie Lee: All right. Good afternoon, everyone.
Audience members: Good afternoon.
Eddie Lee: Good.
Welcome to the White House for the Asian American and Pacific
Islander and Business Leaders Briefing.
I also want to welcome those that are watching online
on our live stream at
My name is Eddie Lee and I am the Associate Director in the
Office of Public Engagements.
And it's my role to be your liaison and your voice here in
this White House to serve you in every way that we can.
About 27 years ago my parents came to this country with very
little access to networks, with very little money in their
pockets, but they came with a simple belief that if they
worked hard, if they followed the rules,
that they can enter the middle class.
That their children, who turned out pretty well --
-- can have a good education and that they can also have a
better life than themselves.
And I'm assuming that many of you and your parents and your
parents' parents came to this country with that same ideal.
That our generation, and I say it very endearingly,
that our generation, that we can have that opportunity in
the future to achieve the American dream.
But part of assuring that promise of America that
this country stay strong is making sure that our
economy is built to last.
It's making sure that our jobs are there for
those that want them.
And that the rungs of the ladder of opportunity
expand rather than grow narrow.
And so all of you play a very important role in that.
Whether you are a small business leader or a leader in the
business or private sector, all of you are very important.
And that's why we've invited some of the preimminent leaders
across this country here to this briefing.
It's because of you that we are able to create more jobs.
And it's with the work that you're able to do in your own
local communities that you're able to make this community and
this country that much stronger.
And so with this briefing today we want to accomplish three
things: One is to talk to you and share with you what this
Administration has done so far and our plans moving forward
with the business community.
But also we want to hear from you.
You all know firsthand how to create those jobs.
You know firsthand how to start your own businesses.
And we want to hear your concerns, your suggestioms,
your questions.
And so I encourage you to be vocal about that.
But more importantly this is an opportunity for us at this White
House to thank you.
I know very well firsthand that it's because of the sacrifices
that you've made for your family, for your community,
for this country that we're able to be as strong as we are today.
During my job here as I walk through these halls I think
about, every single day, about business leaders like those that
create their own laundromats in Los Angeles.
Who have put aside their own ambitions and their own dreams
so that their children can have a better future.
I think about the nail salon owners who breathe in dangerous
chemicals every day, work overtime every single day so
that they can ensure that their family can go on and become
prosperous and that this country will become a better country.
And I think about all of the leaders here in this room
on whose shoulders I believe I stand on.
It's the work that you do in your communities that make me --
allows me to be here today in this White House and to be your
voice for this community, and to become an advocate for
all the work that you do.
And so for that I want to thank you all
from the bottom of my heart.
So why don't you guys give yourselves a round of applause.
Today we have a line-up of some of the strongest and the most
admirable leaders throughout this White House and
this Administration.
And the first person that I want to bring up is someone
that I respect very dearly.
He's a mentor of mine.
Someone that I believe is the epitome of public service.
And that is Chris Lu.
He is the Assistant to the President and the
Cabinet Secretary.
And it is in his role that he is liaison to the cabinet
departments and agencies helping to coordinate policy
and communication strategy.
It's in his role that he makes sure that the Cabinet has
a laser-like focus on creating jobs.
And it is in his role as Co-chair of the White House
Initiative on Asian America Pacific Islanders to ensure
that our community has a voice.
And I will tell you firsthand that every single time I meet
with him the question he asks is what more can I do?
How can I be a more -- a stronger advocate for all the
Asian American and Pacific Islanders around this country.
And there has not been a single time when he said no.
Because he understands how important every single one of
you are and how important it is for us to go out in to your
communities and to be at this White House to ensure that
you all have a voice within these halls.
And so with that, it's truly a pleasure,
truly an honor to bring up Mr. Christopher Lu.
Christopher Lu: Thank you, Eddie,
for that wonderful introduction.
Eddie, as you all can see, is really one of
the superstars around here.
He's only been here for a couple of months.
He was at the Department of Education before this.
Eddie and I first met each other back in the snowy days of the
New Hampshire Primary and you could even see back then this is
a kid who's got great potential.
So all of you are so lucky to have him working for you.
Let me just welcome everyone to the White House and tell
you what a pleasure it is to see so many old friends.
I got kind of swarmed and took a lot of pictures
at the beginning of this.
And somebody asked me beforehand are we going to have an official
And I said, look, if you're doing an event with AAPIs you
kind of don't need a photographer --
-- because I'm fairly sure everyone brings their own
I was just reminiscing, the first time I was in this
building was -- Eddie was just talking 27 years ago his parents
came to this country -- 25 years ago I was in this building.
I was invited to a similar briefing for Asian Americans and
Pacific Islanders back in the Reagan Administration.
And while I didn't, obviously, agree with a lot of things
the Administration was doing even back then,
it really instilled in me an understanding,
and a deep appreciation for the power of government.
And so I'm glad that I could be here to help
you share all of this.
Now, as Eddie mentioned, I serve as the Co-chair of the White
House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
And I am privileged to serve in this capacity with
our wonderful Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
As many of you know, back in October of 2009,
President Obama reestablished the initiative.
And since that day we've had one primary mission which is to
figure out ways that the federal government could do more and
could work more effectively on behalf of our community.
And to do that, it has been critically important for us to
hear from all of you.
And hear your suggestions about how the federal government was
and wasn't serving your needs.
So over the past two and a half years,
the hard-working staff at the initiative and the commissioners
have traveled around the country doing events like this.
We've done hundreds of events in about 50 different cities.
And we've reached more than 25,000 people.
And I always say if we haven't made it to your city yet,
just be patient, I guarantee you we'll be there soon.
We've also published a guide to the federal resources that are
available to the AAPI community and those were handed out on the
way in so hopefully you have a chance to look at that.
You can also get copies of that on the website and learn more
about what the initiative is doing at
Moving forward, we really want to continue this face-to-face
dialogue and engagement.
Over the coming year we're going to be holding "Regional Action
Summits" in communities across the country that are going to be
focused on helping AAPI small business owners, like yourself,
better able to navigate the resources of the federal
government, and better able to understand ways
to access capital.
In fact, just over the next month I'm going to be traveling
to Jacksonville, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia,
and wherever else Eddie tells me I'm supposed to be going,
to talk to all of you.
And we've also, just so you know,
we've also added you to our e-mail list so you'll be getting
updates of the different events we have around the country.
And I'm making a shameless plug because three weeks ago I
finally got on Twitter.
And I was at an event like this and I literally had zero
But it was at a group like a hundred, like, high school kids.
And I said, look, I'd better be at a hundred by
the end of the day.
And so I did get to a hundred.
So I encourage you to follow me on Twitter --
-- it's -- I'll do my shameless plug not only to you but
everybody watching on the live stream -- it's Chrislu44.
And we tweet every single day about the work that the
President is doing.
Not only on behalf of AAPIs but on behalf of all Americans.
Now, all of this engagement is important because we know that
these are difficult times in our country and we know that we
can't leave any stone unturned in trying to find more ways to
help AAPI small business owners, workers and students.
Indeed, in the President's State of the Union Address two weeks
ago, he talked about how this is a make-or-break
moment for the middle class.
Now, a few months ago I was in Las Vegas giving a speech to
about 500 AAPIs and we were at a local union hall.
And I started listing the problems that the middle class
has been facing over the past couple of years.
And in this largely blue-collar audience I could just see heads
nodding up and down.
If any of you are from Nevada, you know full well this is
a state that has the highest unemployment rate;
it's a state that has the highest foreclosure rate.
So they understand all too well the problems facing
the middle class.
But whether you're from Nevada, whether you're from another
state that's doing far better, you know that the economic
security of the middle class has been eroding for decades.
Even before the recession began, good jobs in manufacturing have
been leaving our shores.
And while some have profited and done quite well during this
downturn, most of us haven't really.
Particularly as we find the costs that we're facing,
whether it's education, whether it's health care continuing to
rise while our paychecks stay flat or go down.
So fortunately under the President's leadership the
economy has made great strides as you all saw in last Friday's
jobs numbers.
Over the past 23 months we have added 3.7 million
private sector jobs.
We have also had ten straight quarters of economic growth.
American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time
since the 1990s.
The American auto industry is coming back.
The President has signed a landmark health care law that
will provide insurance to 30 million people who don't have
health insurance and will provide greater security to
hundreds of millions of others who do have insurance.
And the President has worked hard to improve our schools and
in particular make higher education more affordable
and more accessible.
So whether you're a recent immigrant or your family has
been here for several decades, you know that there is a basic
promise in this country that if you work hard you can afford to
buy a house, you can raise a family,
you can send your kids to college,
and you can start to build a nest egg.
But to keep that promise for everybody,
we really need to build a new kind of economy.
We need to build an economy that's not based
on artificial boons.
That really is based on manufacturing more
in this country.
Providing the job skills to a worker so they can compete
for the 21st century.
To ensure that we have a clean energy economy that not only
fosters energy independence and provides good-paying jobs.
And most importantly we need an economy that's based on
hard work, on fairness and on responsibility.
And all of you know those are just core values
in our community.
The success of the economic plan that the President has laid out
and which my colleagues will be talking about is important to
all Americans.
But it's especially important to our community.
Let me just give you a couple of facts.
One quarter of a million AAPIs have been out of work for
more than six months.
Forty percent of our students attend community colleges.
And that's why if we want to work on job training we
have to concentrate on community colleges.
One out of every six Asian Americans lack health insurance
which is why the President's health reform bill
is so important.
The President has pushed for a payroll tax cut.
That would provide a tax cut to 7 and a half million AAPIs and
provide an average tax cut of $1,000.
And there are one and a half million small businesses
in this country.
People like yourselves.
Now, let me tell you a little bit of facts about
small businesses that you might not know.
The President fully appreciates the role that
all of you are doing.
All of you may know this, but two thirds of the new jobs
created in this country are created by small businesses.
And that's why over the past three years he has signed into
law 17 tax cuts for small businesses.
Now, I'm not being partisan, but if you go to our friends on the
other side of the aisle, they're never going to tell
you about those 17 tax cuts.
But that's 17 tax cuts, and the President has recently
proposed four new tax cuts for small businesses.
He's looking for ways to help small businesses gain access to
capital so they can hire more employees.
And he's looking at ways to streamline regulations so that
more immigrant entrepreneurs can enter this country
and create businesses.
All of this is in the President's economic plan.
These are the things that my colleagues are going to talk to
you a little bit more about.
And I encourage you to learn more about this and if it seems
like a great idea, I encourage you to talk to your network,
your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues,
and tell them about the work that we're doing here.
So in conclusion, let me just thank you all for being here.
I know your time is valuable.
I know that when you're not in the office you're probably not
earning money and so this is time away from that,
so we hope you get a lot out of this.
I'm confident you will because we have a great set of speakers
ahead of us.
And let me just say this: There is no better person to kickoff
this event than our next speaker.
Mike Strautmanis, he is one of the President's closest and
longest-serving advisors.
He has known the President for many, many years.
He worked for then Senator Obama as his Chief Counsel.
And over the past three years he has worked for the President's
Senior Advisor Valerie Jared, first as Chief of Staff,
and now Counselor for Strategic Engagement.
It is fair to say that Mike has been involved in virtually every
single policy issue that has come through the White House.
But it's not just his policy knowledge
that distinguishes him.
If any of you have had a chance to interact with him you'll know
that what truly distinguishes him is his personality.
He has a complete loyalty to the President.
He understands that his job is to make the President look good
and not make himself look good.
He has a remarkably calm demeanor when the rest of us are
running around with our hair on fire.
And he has a wonderful sense of humor that I'm sure you will
find out very quickly.
He and I have worked together for seven years.
We've been in the trenches for a very, very long time.
And there is nobody else I would like to go to battle with than
Mike Strautmanis.
So please welcome my good friend Mike Strautmanis.
Mike Strautmanis: Thank you, Chris.
And, you know, obviously Chris and I are good friends.
That was a very kind introduction.
And I would frankly, as far as leadership in the White House,
I would say the same thing about Chris Lu.
I will tell you frankly the President wouldn't be where he
is without him.
He has been at his side since Barack Obama came
to Washington, D.C.
He's a pretty low-key guy, but don't let that fool you.
Chris is a tough, disciplined, seasoned advisor and is doing
work that would make all Americans proud really extolling
the highest level of public service.
So let's give Chris another round of applause, please.
Since we're going into battle together,
it sounds like I might as well say a couple nice words about
him, too.
So good afternoon, everybody!
Audience members: Good afternoon.
Chris Strautmanis: Welcome, welcome to the White House.
Thank you for joining us.
Look, I -- we have some people who have been working very hard
with the business community.
So I want to give you a very simple message and
then let's get started.
I want to say thank you.
And I want to say thank you from a couple
of different perspectives.
The first, as you've heard, I've spent a little bit of
time with President Obama.
You know, we were in Chicago together actually and you don't
spend too long in Chicago without realizing the power of
the AAPI business community.
You know how they drive the culture.
We know how they drive the economy.
And when you think about everything that this President
is working so hard to accomplish: Job creation;
long-term maintain competitiveness;
creating an economy where everybody plays by the same
rules; does their fair share and gets a fair shot.
You all are at the forefront of putting that into practice and
have been long before I got into public service.
And so really for establishing the values that have made this
economy strong and that have made this country great,
I want to thank you.
For the strong, overwhelming engagement that you've given
this President, as you've worked with us in the trenches,
I want to thank you.
Chris just went through the accomplishments that we
accomplished together at one of the more difficult times in our
country's history politically and economically.
I hope you're proud of what you've accomplished.
I hope you're proud of it because we have a lot
more work to do together.
We really are just getting started.
And, yes, we had tremendous job numbers.
It's wonderful every time we see that unemployment
rate goes down.
But you know what that means?
That means one more family and it's more parents who can
provide what they need for their children.
It means another group of people who can pursue their dreams.
It means a community that's a little bit stronger,
a little bit healthier because it has economic vitality.
So you know what a job means to someone.
And it means that you don't have to make that, you know,
the Vice President talks about the longest walk any parent can
make and it's that walk up the stairs to the home to tell their
family they just lost a job or they don't know how
they're going to pay the bills.
Being able to turn this economy around,
being able to create opportunity for everyone is what the
President has worked so hard on, and I just want to thank you
for being there with him by his side.
But more than that, the fact that you're here and willing
to engage with us shows the amount of faith,
and if I could borrow a word, hope,
in the face of tremendous cynicism in our
government right now.
You know, a lot of people feel like at this time we
really can't move forward.
That our problems are too large.
That this really can't, the 21st century can't be the American
century the way the 20th were.
And I know you believe differently.
And so we're going to sit here and we're going to talk to you
about everything that we're doing to work with the business
community to create jobs.
We're going to talk to you about the export economy.
We're going to talk to you about manufacturing.
We're going to talk to you about the small businesses.
And I know any small business in here doesn't want to stay a
small business.
You want to be a medium-size business and then you want to be
a large business.
I know there are some big business owners here.
We're going to talk about how this government is going to
help you do that as well.
And I think I will ask of you one thing,
since I've already said thank you for all that you've done I'm
only going to have one "ask" for you: Don't have this
conversation stop here.
Yes, follow Chris Lu on Twitter, please --
-- so he could stop talking about it!
But I want you to also tweet about your
experiences here today.
Talk about it at church.
At your places of worship.
Talk about it at your homes.
Talk about it in your business community.
Tell people that we came here, you came here,
we listened to you and we gave you the information and the
tools that you need to provide opportunity and good-paying jobs
to everyone in your communities and your cities back home.
Let people know the good news about the hard work that's going
on here at the White House.
And we're going to continue to believe in you and work for you
and move things forward.
The last thing that I want to do before I bring this --
turn this over to this young man, Eddie Lee,
I've had an opportunity to see him work.
First of all, we know he works hard.
You know, you know he works hard because you get those e-mails
from him at 1:00 in the morning.
So hard work is something that I think comes very easily to him.
But it's the way he does it and the heart that he brings to it.
When he walks around every single day,
these are not academic discussions to him.
This is not just a job to him.
He brings his family, he brings his parents,
he brings those who sacrifice to allow him to have this
opportunity to serve his country in with him every single day.
He inspires us and I know he's going to continue to inspire
Eddie, thank you, very much, for giving me the opportunity.
That's the way you get more work out of people!
Eddie Lee: I guarantee you he'll send me an e-mail
Let me just return that favor to these two gentlemen
who spoke before me.
You know, these -- you don't have to look further than these
two men to know what this Administration and the
heart that they have to serve our country,
to serve this community.
And every single time I get to sit in the room with them,
I understand what it means to be a public servant and what
it means to be a leader.
And so we're so honored to have them here in this White House
and I just want to give them another round of applause.
At this time we have an amazing opportunity to hear from
leaders across this Administration, from the SBA,
the Small Business Administration,
from the Department of Commerce, and the White House
Domestic Policy Council.
And these are folks that work day in and day out to make sure
that your voices are heard; to make sure that you are given the
resources that you need; and to make sure that you all
are standing on a strong and a solid platform.
At this time I want to invite them up here and ask them
to prepare themselves.
But this is an opportunity for you to both listen to them about
the work that they do, but more importantly,
to ask them questions, to voice your concerns and your thoughts
and to just let your voices be heard.
And also for those that are watching online,
this is your opportunity to get involved.
If you're on twitter, we want to welcome you.
If you're not on twitter then we want to welcome you to
the 21st century to do so.
But if you are on it, you can do so,
you can engage in this conversation by using
the hashtag AAPIWH.
And I know we are very limited on time but we will try to take
as many of those questions via the Internet as possible.
So with that I want to turn it over to Mr. Chris Chan who is a
Special Advisor in the SBA.
And just want to actually thank him for all the work that he's
done to actually make this event possible because it's his
leadership that really allows us to engage our small business
leaders as well as business leaders across this country.
So let's give him a round of applause as well
as our panelists.
Chris Chan: Well, thank you, Eddie.
And thank you, everyone, for joining us here today.
As Eddie mentioned, I am Chris Chan;
I'm a Special Advisor at the U.S.
Small Business Administration.
And I'm here to help moderate a fantastic panel that we have.
You have representatives from across the federal government
here to talk to you about what we're doing in the federal
government, what we've done in the federal government here in
the last couple of years to try and help business
leaders across the country.
So enough from me.
We're just going to jump right into this.
And I want to take this opportunity to introduce
Malcolm Lee to my right.
Malcolm is Counselor to the Secretary of Commerce and the
Director of the department's Office Policy and
Strategic Planning.
Before joining the Obama Administration last June,
Malcolm worked for Microsoft in China and the U.S.
Malcolm served in President Clinton's White House as Special
Assistant to the President for International Trade and Economic
Policy, and in the Department of State as Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State.
Malcolm, I think you're going to tell us a little bit about some
of the work that the Department of Commerce is doing;
is that correct?
Malcolm Lee: Sure.
Would you like us to use the podium? Or --
Chris Chan: If you would like to, you're more than welcome.
Malcolm Lee: Okay. Great. Thank you.
It's a great, great honor to be here.
I see some friends from the Asian American community here
and I know a number of you are from small businesses.
You know, my family, I'm sixth generation Chinese-American and
came from small business roots.
Both of my grandparents were small business people in
the Chinese community.
My mother's father grew up in -- my mother grew up in Chinatown.
She was -- her father was head of the Chamber of
Commerce of Chinatown.
They had a little store that sold ducks and soy sauce,
chickens and produce around the corner of Mont and Baird.
It's still there today.
It's no longer in their hands.
And my father was, you know, born in one of the two Chinese
laundries that they had in New Haven, Connecticut.
You know, my dad went to serve in World War II,
went to college on the GI Bill and ended up working for
a pharmaceutical company.
I ended up -- he went to the University of Connecticut,
and I ended up going down the street in New Haven to the
college at Yale.
And when he was in college, to get through college,
he bought a hearse.
There was a funeral home across the street and he would drive
and pick up Yalies, drive them down to New York
on the weekends.
And that's how he supplemented --
-- so we've got some good business roots.
And, you know, the Asian American community is
my own community.
You know, even though we're a number of generations old,
you know, we've tried to be active where we can.
My wife was the first Executive Director of the Asian American,
National Asian American Bar Association.
And I worked for a time after law school for All Deaf on their
immigration subcommittee and have come in and out of
government since then.
You know, I think my own passion for public service must come
from my mom who retired at the age of 84,
about three years ago.
She was a counselor and social worker helping underprivileged
youth and disturbed youth, first in the public school system,
but after Title I was cut by Reagan in 19 -- in the early
'80s, she went to work for a parochial school.
So it's a great pleasure to be here.
And I'm going to talk a little bit about what the Commerce
Department does.
You know, we are very focused on two things: Jobs, creating jobs;
and helping you sell what you make.
And we're all about growth.
You know, we -- I was asked to come and serve.
I've only served since this past June, Secretary Locke,
now Ambassador Locke, who many of you know,
came and asked me to serve, to lead his policy and strategic
planning department.
And Secretary Bryson asked me to stay on when he came on.
And we are about -- he has, Secretary Bryson has one major
theme and it's "building it here in the United States and
selling it everywhere."
And we're determined to do this by focusing on three areas:
First is manufacturing as the President outlined in the State
of the Union; second is exports; and the third is investment.
Encouraging more companies to invest here in the United States
who are already here, U.S.
companies and foreign companies to invest in the
United States as well.
And we're in a very different world than even when I served
during the Clinton Administration.
I think we're in a world that we have many more competitors.
The rest of the world is rising.
And that's a good thing.
But we have to think differently.
And this President and this Secretary and this
Administration are really committed to preparing
us for the future.
Now, on manufacturing,
why does the President focus on manufacturing?
Nearly 12 million Americans have manufacturing jobs,
and many of them are in small and medium sized businesses.
Every job inside a factory supports two more outside of it.
And manufacturing is also the biggest source of innovation.
Sixty-seven percent of all business R & D in America is
done by manufacturing companies.
The President recently named Secretary Bryson,
Secretary of Commerce, and Gene Sperling to head the White House
Office of Manufacturing Policy.
And we've created, at The Commerce Department,
a new national program office to lead the President's advance
manufacturing initiative.
And this initiative is going to bring together --
it's going to be locally based.
It's going to focus on partnerships between businesses,
universities, local government with some federal government
money, to help seed manufacturing strengths
around the special expertise of localities.
Some are concerned about industrial policy,
but this is going to be top up.
We're going to work with communities on their
expertise and help develop manufacturing hubs locally.
It will drive investments in emerging industries like
information technology, biotech, and nanotechnology.
The economic Development Administration,
which is part of the Commerce Department,
in the last two years alone, it's already invested in 68
competitive job creating projects across the country to
support advance manufacturing.
And our National Institute of Standards and Technology,
NIST, plans to invest nearly $90 million
in advance manufacturing.
Now, the President, in his State of the Union,
highlighted manufacturing.
And there will be more details coming out in a week as
he announces his budget.
But it's all focused on strengthening local
partnerships, creating jobs locally,
and creating competitiveness locally.
The second area, as I mentioned, is increasing our exports.
We have to export because 95 of consumers are outside
of the United States.
And only 1% of U.S.
businesses exports.
Of that 1%, 58% sell to only one country, Canada and Mexico.
This is an enormous opportunity.
The President has announced -- launched, two years ago,
a national export initiative designed to help businesses
overcome these hurdles.
And we've had some success. U.S.
businesses have expanded exports, you,
17% in 2010 and 16% so far this year.
And we're on track to meet the President's goal of doubling
U.S. exports by 2015.
But we have to intensify our efforts.
Europe has some challenges.
And because of the macroeconomic challenges,
we're going to have to redouble our own efforts.
The President signed three free trade agreements,
and we're finding creative ways to partner with businesses
to increase exports.
SBA and others are partnering very closely with small
businesses as well.
We're reforming our really obsolete export control system
which was based on a vision of the world which no longer
exists, a soviet center.
And we'll pay special attention to removing overseas trade
barriers to our companies.
It's essential that we have a level playing field.
This President, this Secretary, Ambassador alike all
believe that, given a level playing field,
our companies can compete with any companies in the world.
Our workers are as good as any.
Tourism is considered, statistically, an export.
And this President, you know, has understood that increasing
imports, increasing tourism from the countries whose
middle-classes are rising, China, India, Brazil,
is really quite vital.
And we've made some progress.
He's announced an executive order just two weeks ago
in Florida on tourism.
We're working with the Secretary Of Interior and across the
administration to produce a national tourism strategy
in less than three months.
We haven't been waiting for the strategy to move.
You know, over the last -- increasing nonimmigrant process
capacity in China and Brazil by 40% by 2012 is one of our goals.
And the President is also committed to ensuring that 80%
of non-immigrant visa applications are interviewed
within three weeks of receipt of application.
There are very long visa lines in places like China and Brazil.
But we've recommitted resources to those markets and,
over the last -- in the fiscal year 2011 alone,
more than a million visa applications in China were
adjudicated and more than 800,000 in Brazil.
And that represented a 34% growth in china and
a 42% growth in Brazil.
So we've got to rise to meet the demand.
And adjusting these visa problems is a large part of it.
Finally, I've talked about manufacturing and
investment and exports.
And now I'll talk a little about attracting foreign investment.
Again, 10, 15, 20 years ago, America was the
investment place of choice.
Lots of investment, first from the Europeans and then Japanese.
But right now, with the emerging markets rising,
investors have a lot of choices.
The federal government has never really focused on
competing for that investment.
And this President announced an executive order last summer
called SelectUSA where we're going to align federal resources
to help facilitate and attract and promote investment
into the United States.
Foreign companies already support five million jobs in
America and employ American workers in every single
one of our 50 states.
So this will also be a very high priority of ours.
I'll turn it over to SBA, and I can welcome any questions
you have on these priorities or on U.S.
- China relations as well.
Thank you.
Chris Chan: Thanks, Malcolm.
I think we're just going to jump straight in to our next speaker,
Michele Chang, who is deputy chief of staff at the U.S.
Small Business Administration.
She's part of a leadership team that overseas over
2,000 employees and a variety of policy areas.
Before this role, Michele was most recently serving as senior
advisor at SBA's Office of Government Contracting and
Business Development.
And I think you're going to talk to us a little bit about what
SBA has to offer for resources to business owners.
Michele Chang: Absolutely.
Thank you, Chris.
And I am going to sit here because I'm expecting
a little one.
So I think sitting will be better for me.
First of all, I just want to say I'm very excited to be here
today and to talk to all of you.
Similar, I think, to many of you all,
I have a story about why I'm here today.
I'm the daughter of two parents who immigrated from Taiwan,
so I'm first generation.
I'm just very excited to support Asian Americans.
It's a topic I'm very passionate about.
And also small businesses.
Both my grandparents had small businesses.
My grandfather had a textile wholesale manufacturing company.
My other grandfather owned a doctor's practice.
And without their hard work and all of the work that they had
done, there's no way that my parents would have been able to
have the opportunities that they had here and then for me to have
these opportunities here.
I'm just very excited to work on behalf of small businesses
and all of you in this administration.
Prior to joining the administration,
I worked in the private sector and learned a ton there.
But I always felt like something was missing.
It was that sense of public service and giving back.
And so every day what I'm trying to do is to work on behalf
of all of you small businesses, make sure you get the
access that you need, the services that you need.
So anything that we can do to help,
I would love to hear from all of you any sort of feedback on how
we can better serve all of you.
So I want to spend a little time, as Chris mentioned,
talking to you a little bit about what the SBA does and
look forward to also engaging with all of you with any
questions that you have.
At the SBA, we recognize that small businesses are the job
creators in this economy.
And as Chris mentioned earlier, two out of three new jobs are
created by small businesses.
Fifty percent of Americans work or own a small business,
so we truly are the foundation of the middle-class.
When we talk about small businesses and our services at
SBA, we talk about the three Cs: Capital, contracting,
and counseling.
And I'll talk a bit about each of those.
First in terms of capital, if you look back to October 2008,
credit markets were frozen.
Good small businesses couldn't get the capital that they needed
to sustain their businesses, much less grow or hire.
But while at the SBA we actually don't give out loans,
we do guarantee loans.
So that makes it easier for small businesses to
get those dollars.
Thanks to two key pieces of legislation,
SBA has been able to provide more support for
small business lending.
The first legislation was the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act that allowed SBA to reduce or eliminate
fees and increase guarantees on SBA supported loans.
A year and a half later, the Small Business Jobs Act
was passed which, as many of you know,
was one of the most important pieces of legislation that was
passed for small businesses in over a decade.
The Jobs Act continues to make sure that some of these
provisions continue to move forward and that lenders get
the access that they need.
And they've been roaring back.
The results have been completely undeniable.
In fiscal year 2011, SBA had a record year in lending.
We were able to give $30 billion to small business owners.
And the AAPI small business owner community received over
$4 billion in supported lending through our flagship program,
7(a), and 504.
So hopefully some of you have been able to benefit from that.
And if not, we would be happy to talk to you more about that and
how you can benefit from some of these programs.
The SBA also has programs to help high-growth
business communities.
Our Small Business Investment Company program,
which you may have heard, SBIC, supported a record $2.5 billion
and helped 1300 small businesses in fiscal year 2011.
That's the same program that actually helped businesses like
Intel and Fed-Ex get off the ground in their early years.
So we have a strong sense of accomplishment around many of
the things that we've done here.
But at the same time, we know there's a lot more that we can
do to get dollars in the hands of small businesses in
terms of capital.
And that's why we're not waiting for Congress to move forward.
We've recently launched a couple new initiatives to help
small businesses get the capital that they need now.
The first was called CAPLines.
Hopefully some of you have heard of that and been able to take
advantage of that.
CAPLines focuses on helping small businesses with their
working capital needs.
Another program that we've launched is Community Advantage,
which is a new pilot which opens a door for mission
based financial institutions to take advantage of our
SBA Guarantee Program.
We continue to look for more ways to get capital into the
hands of small businesses and really urge you to speak out on
any issues that you have or you're hearing in your
community, how can we help you better.
The second C that I want to talk about is contracting,
something very near and dear to my heart since I spent the last
year of my life focused on contracting issues.
How many folks out here have been involved in federal
contracting in the past?
As many of you, it's a very smart thing to do because the
federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and
services in the entire world.
The government spends $500 billion a year procuring goods
and services.
And small businesses on average get nearly $100 billion
of that each year.
Our whole goal at SBA and our contracting program is to make
sure as much of those dollars get into the hands
of small businesses.
We run a number of programs to help that.
So whether you are a woman owned small business,
a service disabled woman owned small business, an 8(a) firm,
which is our program for socially and economically
disadvantaged firms or a firm who resides in one of our HUB
zones, which is our Historically Underutilized Business Program,
there are ways that you can benefit from getting more
set asides in terms of federal contracts.
And that's what we're here to do to help.
Another thing that we work on very closely in our contracting
office is to work with our federal agency partners across
the entire government.
We at the SBA are actually a very small agency that procures
a very small amount of money.
But across the entire government,
there's lots of money to be had.
And we make sure that everybody makes small business a priority
when they're looking at their procurement.
And we worked very closely with the White House to keep deputy
secretaries at the most senior levels at every agency
accountable to meeting their goals.
That's one of our key focuses.
A couple of other things I would do in terms of contracting to
make sure we keep moving the needle is with our Small
Business Jobs Act which we mentioned was a very
important legislation.
There was 19 provisions, and they're related to small
business contracting, everything from mentoring programs to
increasing grants to making sure that the regulations are written
in a way to benefit small businesses.
And we're in the process of implementing those.
Many of them already have been implemented,
but this is an important time to make sure we continue to move
the needle forward.
One additional thing hopefully that many of you have heard
about, the President also instituted what
we call QuickPay.
If you're a federal contractor, which looks like there's many of
you in the room, in the past, you were typically paid by
the federal government in around 30 days.
The President actually asked all federal agencies to cut that
time in half to 15 days.
And as a small business, that makes a lot of difference so
that you have the capital that you need so you can continue
to make more bids and to get more work.
So we're very excited about that.
And we're looking at more ways that we can help small
businesses like those programs.
The last C is counseling.
We have 14,000 SBA affiliated counselors
located across the country.
And these counselors provide free or low-cost services such
as business plan writing or market research.
We've seen evidence that companies that use a counselor
have a higher chance of success.
So we urge you, if you are a small business and haven't
visited one of our resource partners, please do.
You can visit our website at to find a local
counselor in your area.
I also want to take a quick moment to discuss a couple
other key initiatives that the SBA has.
Many of you may have heard of Startup America,
which is a public-private partnership with the goal
of supporting high growth companies.
Those are companies looking to grow from five people to
100, 500, 5,000 people.
At the SBA, we work closely with the Startup America partnership
which is spearheaded by AOL founder Steve Case to make sure
that programs I've mentioned before and others like that
are available to high-growth entrepreneurs.
The President actually just sent up a legislative package last
week focused on helping these entrepreneurs.
And you can find out more about that on the White House's
website about what different agencies are doing to help
support Startup America.
And lastly, I want to mention our disaster assistance program.
We have a program at the SBA to help businesses and homeowners
get financing when a natural disaster impacts
them in their communities.
These are low-interest long-term loans to help families and
communities rebuild in difficult times of disaster.
All of these programs I have mentioned are meant to support
business owners, small businesses across our country.
And it's a top priority to make sure that all of our communities
have access to these resources.
I mentioned our website previously.
We actually recently went through a massive rehaul and
revamp of our website.
And if you haven't been there recently,
I strongly urge you to visit.
Again, it's
And you can find information about our programs,
about local resources.
And actually, today, we recently just launched three new online
trainings on how to become a federal contractor.
So if you're a federal contractor and you want to
learn more about that, how do I win my next contract,
we actually just launched three new courses there.
So check it out.
Hopefully you can find it helpful.
And of course, we're open to your feedback on
how we can improve that.
So excited again to be here today.
Hopefully I'll be able to meet a lot of you later on today,
and look forward to any questions that you have.
Thanks so much, Michele.
We're just going to move on now to our next speaker,
Portia Wu who is Senior Policy Advisor for Mobility and
Opportunity Policy at the Domestic Policy Council.
Portia's previously held positions at the National
Partnership for Women and Families as well as the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Portia Wu: All right. Thank you.
Hello, everyone.
Thanks for coming out to Washington.
I just wanted to talk for a couple of minutes.
I work here at the White House on labor and
job training issues.
And you heard the President in the State of the Union talk
about our blueprint for a strong economy and
America built to last.
And that had four pillars.
It relied on manufacturing, investments in our infrastructure.
But also, we were talking about skills because that's an
investment in our future.
You know the President has laid out a lot of initiatives on
education, improving our education all the way from
pre-school through college and making us -- we want to be a
leader in college completion in the world again.
But I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking particularly
about workforce training and training for jobs.
We know that our economy, as it picks up again,
is going to create millions of jobs that need skilled workers.
It's not just people with a college degree.
There will be a lot of those jobs too.
But I think that the estimate is something like 1.6 million jobs
in the next few years that will need more than high school but
less than a four-year college degree.
And that's a lot of the workers that you all will need.
I have a question for you.
How many of you in this room participate in your Local
Workforce Board?
Not that many.
How many of you have even heard of your Local Workforce Board
or One-Stop?
A little bit more.
I think this illustrates a little bit of a problem we have.
We have 3,000 career One-Stops and satellites
around this country.
Every state and most localities have workforce boards that are
made up of majority business people trying to direct
the direction of job training in this country.
But something that we found in talking with a lot of experts
around the country and here, working with our Jobs Council
members, is business feels like they need more engagement.
They are saying to us, we need to be sure that people coming
out of school -- high schoolers need more skills.
They don't have the skills they need to walk right into a job.
Even people working in community college.
We want to be sure the skills they are getting there are
certifications we understand, that we know actually
what these people can do.
It would be even better if they had some on-the-job training
experience wrapped into that education so they're really
ready to hit the ground running.
So you heard the President in the State of the Union.
And I'll just quickly highlight two things we have going on now.
He highlighted a community college initiative and talked
about having community colleges train people and be
partners with businesses.
And we will be announcing the details in the coming days
about more new investments in that arena.
But really, the idea is to have businesses partner with
community colleges so that the programs are
developed around your needs.
And I will direct you to the TAA community college training grant
program, which we've already put out $500 million in one round.
The next round of grant applications is going
out very soon.
It's going to community colleges,
but they are supposed to have business partners.
So if you work with a community college or your workforce board,
that's a good opportunity for you to go to them and say,
this is what I think I'm looking for in workers,
how can I get engaged with that?
In addition, you'll see in coming weeks we will be rolling
out more details around this community college initiative
that the President announced in the State of the Union.
We also have been working with SBA on some ideas on
We have some pilots with them, Department of Labor and SBA,
about really trying to get entrepreneurs skills and to be
sure that community colleges can serve as a resource for people
wanting to start their business or to grow their small business.
And we also have a number of grants through H1b,
trying to get skilled workers.
We have an H1b grant program that helps them to get
on-the-job training in these higher skilled jobs that -- in
some cases, businesses are bringing in H1b workers now.
We would like to find a way to train workers here in the United
States to take those jobs.
Finally, I want to be sure you're all aware of the White
House's recent event.
We recently launched our summer jobs plus initiative,
asking businesses to engage with us in hiring
young people this summer.
We have a real problem facing us now,
which is a lot of people between the age of 16 and 24 are just
not able to find jobs in this tight labor market.
That means we have a whole future generation that are
not getting the basic skills they need to know how to
engage in the workforce.
So if you would go to,
you can learn more about this.
The President has asked businesses to step up and commit
to hiring or mentoring or providing other kinds of
opportunities to a quarter of a million
young people this summer.
We already have commitments for about 180,000 positions.
I mean, it's been wonderful the response we've
had from business.
But we would love to see more engagement from the Asian
American business community as well.
It's an opportunity for young people to be exposed to
different kinds of business models and experiences.
So I'll just say leave it there because I know we're
running out of time.
But we have a number of wonderful investments in
healthcare and manufacturing, all these arenas where workers
need skills to help you fill the jobs you have open.
And stay tuned for more.
Thanks, Portia.
So I know you guys have been sitting here patiently.
You have had a lot of folks talking to you.
We now want to take kind of that second step that Eddie mentioned
earlier in this conversation and hear from you all.
So we would love to take your questions,
love to take your feedback, hear what you're hearing in your
community so that we can then do a better job here in D.C. so
that these federal programs can be accessed and can reach your
friends, your neighbors, your business
owners that you frequent.
So we've got microphones on either side of the room if you
would like to go ahead and cue up if any of you have questions.
I think we're also taking some questions online.
So don't be shy.
Please come on up.
Audience Member: Hello.
I would like to know if the SBA website,
do you have any bilingual links which -- you know,
the community people sometimes they have difficulties
understanding all those languages.
Michele Chang: It's an excellent question.
I know Chris actually works in our Office of Communications
and Public Liaison, so I'm sure he can build on this.
But yes, we are working very hard to make sure that we make
all of our materials accessible in multiple languages.
So we have been working to make sure that all of the
content that we have on is translated.
So it is translated in different languages including many Asian
Also, one thing we've been working on in our district
offices is that the actual pamphlets that you see sitting
in our district offices are also translated
into different languages.
Audience Member: How about the online training and the
courses, training courses?
Are they also in different languages?
We're continuing to develop the online courses and
expanding upon them.
So as of right now, I'm not entirely sure,
but I'm happy to get back to you on that.
But as we continue to build out,
it's certainly something that we're looking into in terms of
making sure that access for all communities to these
programs is available.
I'm sorry.
We just have a few --
Audience Member: Just one more question.
I'm sorry.
Do you actually have any collaboration/partnership with
Asian Chamber of Commerce nationwide, helping them,
give seminars on working with SBA?
Michele Chang: We do have a relationship with the Pan Asian
US Chamber of Commerce.
We do work closely with them, have been in a number of
meetings with them talking about various issues.
And we're open to any other conversations they would like to
engage us in on how we can better partner with them.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Audience Member: All right.
This is a question for Michele about SBA.
I'm a little bit curious about the relationship between SBA and
Startup America.
The reason why I ask this, I did check out Startup America.
And it seems to be more of a platform for advertisement for
so-called sponsors, not necessarily really offering
too much to entrepreneurs whereas on,
I found there were quite a bit of resources there for
any budding entrepreneur.
And you can actually get real value from that.
So that's one question.
And I also have just one suggestion if you don't mind.
As an entrepreneur, many entrepreneurs who may be looking
for BC capital are going to incorporate in Delaware.
So one of the programs that I had and I think many
entrepreneurs have is navigating different state business laws
because you have to understand the implications of,
for instance, Delaware state business law versus Virginia
state business law, Maryland, or whatever.
And I think that may be something that can really help
budding entrepreneurs, if SBA were able to provide some sort
of resource that says here are basically what you need to be
aware of for these different states and this is
how they interconnect.
Michele Chang: Great.
And thank you for that suggestion.
We'll definitely take that back to our team to make sure that
we provide that sort of state level information
for small businesses.
In terms of your question about Startup America, yes,
I'm glad to hear you that you find our
SBA resources available.
That's good to hear.
Startup America is something that we are doing as a
public-private partnership.
So our goal is to make sure that all of our different programs
and services that we do have and have had a lot of successes with
small businesses we get.
And we make sure that these high-growth entrepreneurs
get access to that.
So it's a lot about making sure that that's happening.
So yes, we're actively involved with that.
We continue to push our programs through that.
But we will make sure that we continue to work even harder to
make sure that that's known as well.
Audience Member: So does that mean that it's a
platform for visibility?
Or is it actually supposed to be a resource platform?
Michele Chang: It's both.
I mean, it's definitely both.
We want to get the word out that we have a number of resources
out there, but it is actually a resource platform too where
you can access different types of resources.
And I'm happy to put you in touch with our folks if you
need some better guidance.
Or we can help you understand the different resources
that are available there.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Audience Member: (indiscernible)
from Prince George's County.
I think the centerpiece of the President's State of the Union
address was built to last, creating an America
that's built to last.
Within that built to last strategy is the manufacturing
strategy that the President talked about.
My question probably is for Mr. Lee.
Is the U.S.
Department Of Commerce taking the lead in creating the set of
tax incentives and other financial assistance programs
for job creation and retention in the manufacturing sector?
And if so, what are those strategies that
you're looking at?
Malcolm Lee: Thank you.
The Secretary of Commerce co-chairs with Gene Spurling
the White House Office of Manufacturing.
As the President outlined, there are many planks, including tax,
with respect to the manufacturing strategy.
He eluded to some changes in the State of the Union.
Obviously, the Secretary of Treasury plays a very,
very leading role with respect to tax policy,
the National Economic Council.
But we have a manufacturing cabinet that is cochaired by
Bryson, Secretary Bryson.
And they will consider, with the President and the Secretary
of Treasury and other cabinet members,
the specific tax initiatives that the President outlined in
the State of the Union.
And they included trying to level the playing field to
create incentives and remove disincentives to manufacturing
in the United States, also with respect to certain benefits to
look at manufacturing abroad and also creating incentives
to bring jobs that were moved abroad back to
the United States.
Audience Member: Thank you.
Malcom Lee: Thank you.
Chris Chan: We've just got time for just a few more questions.
So we'll just go over here.
And I apologize to anyone who we won't be able to get to.
We'll make sure -- please come see me afterwards.
I'm happy to talk with you so we can try and get your questions
answered after the session.
Audience member: (inaudible)
Miguel from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
On February 1st White House announcement,
new housing refinancing plan.
The government has been diligent in creating a solution for
struggling homeowners, why can't government make these same
solutions for the small business owner association --
small business owners that are struggling almost from 2007,
even, they have a hard time to paying their mortgage.
Can you have any plan, Administration have any plan
for the business people like they have for the housing?
Michele Chang: So your question is about particularly
for small businesses in order to get capital or is
it particular to their housing?
Audience member: Capital.
In SBA you know and I know -- we've been knowing -- file and
all those SBA, but the banks are not lending to real small
businesses because they can't sell those notes to the
Wall Street anymore, that means they are,
you guys are funding them but they are not lending the real
small business owners.
Michele Chang: Right.
So this is definitely something that we hear a lot and something
that we are working actively on.
We want to make sure that even though we have our guarantees
that the banks are still continuing to make those loans
out to small businesses.
So we continue to have a number of conversations with banks
trying to figure out how can we make sure that we're making
things easier for them, how to, what's the barriers that are at
play so we can continue to make sure that small businesses get
the dollars that they need.
As I mentioned, we are also trying to look at other sorts of
programs that we have that we can do without legislative
action to get more dollars into the hands of small businesses.
Cap lines and the community advantage I mentioned before,
we're also looking at how can we increase small loans to
small businesses because we know oftentimes for small
businesses it's not the big loan that you need,
it's more the little loans here and there to get that
next project, to get, hire that next employee.
So that's one of the things we're actively looking at.
How can we get more small dollar loans as well.
But happy to talk with you more, if we can put you in touch also
with our capital access team who can speak as well to that.
Audience member: Thank you.
Audience member: Okay, anybody in this room have ever
work with UL, Under Laboratory testing, safety testing?
Malcolm Lee: Underwriters' Lab?
Audience member: Under Laboratory, UL.
My concern is about the UL, you know,
we are a research and development company, and,
you know, the UL, the process is taking too long.
The communication is, you know, is less communicative and
less effective, that I would like to say.
You heard about the UL, right?
Safety of the product?
Malcolm Lee: Well, I'm familiar with Underwriters' Lab
as a certifier of industry products meeting certain
standards, is that right?
Audience member: Yes.
You know, yes.
Malcolm Lee: UL is a private company.
Audience member: Yes, we develop the product, but --
Malcolm Lee: Right.
Audience member: Product, you know, in order to install into,
you know, the other product that we have to have
a safety approval.
Malcolm Lee: Correct.
Audience member: Before selling to the customer.
And it is, you know, many people,
whoever I know and work with, they, many people,
everybody say UL is, you know, business killer.
Malcolm Lee: A business killer.
Audience member: Right.
Malcolm Lee: Yes, sir.
Audience member: One of the projects we turn in March last year.
Now almost, you know, now is February this year,
almost one year still have no -- testing.
From the day that we turn in the PO, request for the PO,
take a few weeks to get response back and few weeks for them to
assign an engineer in the field with another few weeks to,
you know, to know what they need from us,
and a few months for them to let us know for the
first review of the product.
It takes too long.
One of our products, we finish development, we have a PO,
we cannot ship because the UL not done yet.
But if they really work with us, it take few months.
But it take too long, too long.
The process forever.
Time is money, especially this time.
Time is money.
So any way that you can help to, you can help us to
improve the UL process.
And, you know, have better communication and better,
you know, the process.
This is what my concern.
Malcolm Lee: Thank you.
Thank you.
I mean, you've raised a great point.
I mean, government needs to operate at the speed of
business, and time is money.
You know, this President's been extremely committed to
streamlining regulation, eliminating regulation that is
unnecessary, and ensuring that our regulators move quickly.
I believe it, I'm not sure about the product or whether
the standards are FDA based or some EPA based,
environmental or -- but, you know,
there are certain health and safety requirements that it
may be that private, Underwriters' Lab may
certify to those standards.
I think our commitment is to ensure that where there are
federal regulators involved, that they are moving quickly,
that the regulations are sound, and that they be eliminated if
they're unnecessary, and that there be timely -- you know,
obviously there's always room for improvement,
but this is something that's very high on the President's
list because we have to move quickly.
Chris Chang: Thank you.
I think we have time for just one more question,
so we'll go ahead on this idea and --
Elizabeth Chung: Thank you very much.
My name is Elizabeth Chung from Frederick, Maryland.
I'm the Executive Director for the Asian American
Center in Frederick.
I will have two comments, and both addressed to
Michele and Portia.
First of all, we're a nonprofit organization,
and I think it's time to look at nonprofit as the next social
entrepreneur for changes.
You know, we are here to do services and products,
and we want to be cost efficiency and
that sort of thing.
So I think I'd like to see FDA would put some focus in terms
of developing integration and collaboration with nonprofit
organizations so that, you know, the immigrant communities will
have a chance also to get into more to development and
that type of project.
Second is, thank you, Eddie, for having this event.
Portia, I think you'll like to hear what I have to say.
Most recently Frederick, Maryland, you know,
in Frederick County we have really to meet a true
collaboration in a sense.
We have interpretive training and how did that happen?
Workforce development, and also the community college and the
hospitals and myself, and frankly it's because my
community's lost 200, 300 jobs from BP Solar,
and these are bilingual folks with doctors and nurses in the
back, in their background, and yet they couldn't find jobs.
So, and so we work with them, but the thing is that I like to
say that it's not, they are not reaching out to us.
That's why many of us do not really know to workforce
development, we are the ones reaching to them.
They're very busy helping, you know, the Americans to get jobs,
which is very good.
But again, they need to reach out to the communities and know
the souls, know the heartbeat, know the powers of the
communities and where we can make the, you know, the job,
you know, more.
So you know, with that, you know,
it's just great and we brought in -- we've basically 30
people being trained for the first time in my county,
as professionally trained interpreters.
Again, the language skills.
Those are very important.
We need to look at community assets.
We're not here to just keep asking for help, we have skills,
we have cultural skills, we have language skills.
We need to ask SBA and also Workforce Development to help
those, help the communities of now first, second generation,
a new way for immigrants, (ck) our Burmese, Taiwanese,
Nepalese, you know, that those come after the Chinese and the
Korean and so forth.
Those new immigrants, emerging immigrants really need a great
deal more job training, but we need them to reach out to us and
last, we need to be at the table for funding.
We cannot just go out there and wait for them and say
that we'll partner with you.
I know we make them look good to bring the numbers to you that
they serve, but we are the ones who do most of the work.
Thank you.
Portia Wu: Thank you for that comment,
and I think it highlights what is a challenge for all the
workforce boards now, you know, budgets are getting trimmed,
millions of people are flooding into their offices, you know,
we've seen a huge spike in what, the people they need to serve.
So it is a challenge, but thank you for highlighting how it
can work and also what we need to do to improve.
Chris Chan: And thank you guys so much.
So I hope you guys found this information useful.
We just want to provide you an overview,
a snapshot of the many, many, many,
many programs that the federal government's working on to try
and help your businesses, businesses in your community
and people in your community.
I'm going to turn things back over to Eddie,
and I just want to take a quick second and say thank you to
the panelists for joining us.
Audience member: Can we ask one key question, please?
Audience member: Can we ask one key question, please?
All of this is great, but, you know,
you're sitting in the White House,
the budgets are being cut, and who's affected?
Small businesses.
And who's going to have to lay off people?
Small businesses.
Nobody's answering that question.
Can you help us with that?
I don't want to close my business.
The government is cutting the budget.
Every day I get a call, another project's been cut.
How you going to answer that?
Michele Chang: So let me take a stab at that,
the million dollar question.
That's what we do every day at the SBA.
I think now everyone's sensitive that this is difficult times,
everyone's taking, having to take cuts right and left,
not only in the federal government but the private
sector, and we know most importantly small
businesses are.
And that's exactly what we do every day to make sure that
small businesses still get the access and
resources that they need.
That's why we have the programs that we have.
If there's specific things that you're not getting that you feel
like you need to get, we welcome your comments and your feedback.
That's what we're here to provide you with.
If it's specific to capital, if it's specific to counseling,
let us know, we're here to help.
Eddie Lee: Let's give our panelists another round of applause.
Well, I want to introduce the next speaker who's going to be
giving our closing remarks, and before I do so,
I want to say this is just the beginning of a conversation.
It's not, you know, it's certainly not the end of it.
And we've heard you loud and clear,
we've heard your concerns, we've heard your questions,
we've heard your encouragements.
But this is just the beginning.
And so what we ask for you is to keep us accountable and stay in
touch with us so that we can continue to work from
here to help you.
The President has said this time and time again that this is a
make or break moment for the middle class.
And we certainly agree with that.
But that solution doesn't happen just with the White House or
folks here in D.C., it happens with all of us around this
community, around this country coming together to
find real solutions.
And the person that is at the head of that Business Council
here at the White House is a man by the name of Ari Matusiak,
who is the Executive Director of the White House
Business Council.
He is one of the Administration's main vehicles
for engaging the private sector and civil leaders on
jobs and the economy.
He is a tireless fighter for businesses,
and this is a man who will fight in this battle for all of us,
for this AAPI community, but also our business leaders.
And I'm very delighted to bring him up.
He also happens to be a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan,
which I don't blame him too much for,
and we certainly give him our condolences.
But for the most part we want to just thank you all.
But I want to bring up Ari Matusiak for the
closing remarks.
Thank you.
Ari Matusiak: Yeah, last night was tough.
It's hard to see.
Good afternoon, everyone.
My name's Ari Matusiak.
Thank you all for letting me take a couple minutes to join
you in what I'm sure has been a productive and
exciting afternoon.
Certainly if Eddie's doing it, it's going to be well done.
I can just give you, why don't I give you a little bit of a
background about what I do here at the White House and with the
Administration, and then how that relates to what we hope to
be able to do with all of you.
I run something as Eddie mentioned called the White House
Business Council.
It is effectively our vehicle for getting our people outside
of Washington and engaging with business leaders and civic
leaders like yourselves to make sure really that we're doing two
things: First, that we're getting feedback about what we
as an Administration can be doing more of or in some cases
less of to move the needle on jobs and our long-term
economic competitiveness.
And second, to make sure that business leaders like yourselves
are getting access to information about the resources
and programs that are in place so that you can continue to
move your companies forward to scale your firms and to
grow and create jobs.
The President said in this room last April that he wanted to --
a group of about 150, 160 senior administration officials,
Cabinet members, White House officials,
senior subcabinet officials, that he didn't want them,
he didn't want to see them as much anymore.
Which I think they were a little surprised by, but he,
he said that we needed to get out of D.C. and make sure that
we were hearing directly from the folks who were the job
creators around this country.
And since that time, I'm actually very proud to say that
our Administration, senior administration officials have
had over 550 meetings in all 50 states and in
over 200 communities.
And you don't hear a lot about that,
because the goal wasn't to turn it into a media event.
The goal was to make it an opportunity for us to
get the feedback that could shape policy.
And that is in fact what has happened.
When the President put out the American Jobs Act in September
and gave the speech to the Joint Session of Congress,
many of the elements in the Jobs Act were contained in the
conversations that we had with business leaders like
yourselves around the country.
Similarly with the State of the Union.
And in the announcements that have transpired over the prior
weeks, announcements like our work to make sure that we're
facilitating and growing our exports through travel and
tourism and addressing visa requirements,
that came directly from business leaders in Miami and in
Las Vegas and in California, among other places.
Similarly, with the President's proposal to reorganize
government, to consolidate the eight -- consolidate the
six agencies that deal with trade and small business
into one entity to make sure that we have,
go from the spaghetti chart that nobody can really grasp and
understand in terms of where to go to get access to the
resources they need to one place, to one website,
to one phone number, to one department.
Those have been the kinds of things that we have heard all
across the country that have resulted in actual substantive
policy changes here, and it's a direct result of the
input that we get.
So conversations like this, meetings like this
really do matter.
We take them incredibly seriously here.
The President has made it plain to us that this is how we get
our ideas and that this is how we move our agenda forward.
And I think we have seen the result of
that over the last months.
I know many of you all have probably already heard about and
read about the jobs numbers that came out on Friday,
but we've had 23 straight months of private sector job growth.
We are moving forward in a way that is indicative of us going
in the right direction, but we have much more to do and
much more work ahead.
And so that is actually why I am very excited to go to work every
day, because what that means is that the work is not done and
that we get to continue engaging with folks like yourselves to
help us, to help us continue to advance the
America's economic agenda.
So let me just boil that down a little bit more in concrete
terms because it's a little bit high altitude.
So we do a few things here.
We continue to go out around the country and have these meetings
with business leaders like yourselves.
If you want to host one or in your community bring a group of
business leaders together and have a conversation directly
with us, we'd love to do that.
If you want to participate in one when we roll through town,
we'd love to have you be a part of it.
We have, we also bring people here, much like,
much like this or similar to this where we focus entirely on
jobs and the economy, and have deep-dive conversations with
senior administration officials about our long-term economic
competitiveness, and do it city by city.
So if you're from, if you're in town -- is anybody here from
Well, you, you don't count.
Well, if you're sticking around and you're from Columbus and you
want to hang out in town, we'll be, you know,
we have a group of Columbus business leaders here coming in
tomorrow, you're welcome to join.
You know, and if you're going to stay for all week and you're
from Seattle, you can come in on Thursday.
If you're from Detroit, they're going to be here on Friday.
But the point is that these are opportunities for us to
get those inputs directly.
We also are doing a series of forums around the
country focused on entrepreneurs in cities.
We know from all the data that entrepreneurship and
specifically new starts and high-growth companies are
where the bulk of job creation is taking place.
And so we are looking at ways to make sure that we're connecting
the dots in city centers so that we are getting the resources to
the people and communities that can have the most robust impact
on job creation in some of the places where
we need to have it most.
So we had an event in New York on Friday,
focused on women entrepreneurs in the city.
It was a resounding and energetic event where about
400 women entrepreneurs came together,
got the information that they needed,
but were also connected in a very concrete way to mentors in
small conversations that were introduced to resources through
an expo of public and private sector resources to make sure
that we're bridging the gap so that people are aware and
able to move forward with their companies.
So we are going to continue to do those kinds of things,
but -- and you are always welcome to participate in them,
and we will make sure that you get looped into the information
about these events as they come forward.
But for us, it's, you know, events are events.
They happen and then they end, and then people leave and
they say one thing or another about them,
either it was worth their time or it could have been
more worth their time.
But for us it's also really important as we have this
conversation across the country that the conversation across the
country changes and becomes much more focused on results and
solutions and less about rhetoric and about
who's right and wrong.
And that's really where you come in.
So to the extent that we are communicating with you in a way
that resonates in terms of what this Administration's economic
agenda is and what this President believes in terms of
how best to move the country forward on jobs and the economy,
please share that.
Let others know.
If you think that there are things that we need to be
talking more about or more effectively about,
let us know so that we can do that.
But ultimately you are the leaders in your communities,
you are the ones who people turn to and listen to and ask advice
of, much more so than they do with any of us who might visit
for a day but inevitably have a plane ticket back here.
Sometimes we are more excited about that than others,
but most of the time we're -- all of us are often most
excited when we get to travel across the country.
So usually the outbound trip is more exciting to us
than the one back here.
But seriously, you all are the ones who can carry the water in
your communities and who people turn to,
and so we need you to be the voices about what it is that we
can be doing and about making sure that people around the
country understand that this is an administration that is very
serious about job creation and very focused on solutions.
So we look to your advice and input,
and we also need your help in getting that message out.
In terms of communicating with us more broadly,
we will make sure that you get on our lists and that you are
robustly aware of what's going on.
We have our conference calls and our e-newsletters
and all of that.
We also have an online forum for business leaders and
entrepreneurs to help shape a conversation and meet one
another, and that's at, but I'll make sure that Eddie gets
that information out to you.
And that's just another way for people to connect and share with
one another as they think about strategies for how to grow and
scale their companies.
So we are, I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to talk
with you all a little bit today, but I'll just close by saying
that there is no conversation topic that is more important
here than making sure that every American who wants to
have a job can have a job.
And to make sure that every business owner and entrepreneur
who is trying to grow their companies has the tools and
resources and the freedom from obstacles and barriers to do so.
So we are always going to be on that hunt,
we are always interested in input about how to be better
equipped to accomplish that, to accomplish those goals,
and for that we need all of you and therefore depend on staying
in touch with all of you.
So it's not just that we like to send you a blast e-mail,
that's not how we look at it.
We look at it as a way to have an ongoing conversation,
as one way to have an ongoing conversation,
and so we rely on you all to be, to pick up the other end of that
and to keep us in the loop.
So with that I'll just say I look forward to staying in
touch, and thank you all very much again for joining us here
at the White House.
Eddie Lee: Thank you, Ari, and that brings us to the
end of our program.
Before I release you to the festivities of this afternoon,
let me just say that speaking on behalf of the White House,
we hear you and we hear your stories,
and we hear the urgency in your voices as you speak,
and we know that you are at the front line in
terms of the economy.
It's your small businesses and your businesses that are most
at stake when our economy doesn't do well.
And so when I, when we hear your concerns,
that just reminds me of why I come here every single day and
do the work that I do and why this White House initiative
on AAPIs comes to their work every day and do the
work that they do.
And so the moment that these needs stop,
that's when my job goes away.
But until we continue to have more and more concerns and
more and more needs for more resources,
we are going to continue to come here every single day
and fight for you.
So my ask to all of you is to keep us accountable.
I have a whole stack of business cards that I'm happy to give
away after this talk, and I will order
another batch as I see fit.
I sent my mom the first batch, so I'm running out
really quickly.
But let me just say that it is, we have -- every single time I
see our clips, our news clips, we hear of another business
leader or business that's not doing so well because of the
economy, that's another reminder of the urgency that we have
throughout this country to keep standing up,
to keep fighting for all of you, and to keep being your voices.
So please be encouraged as you go out.
I know that this is just a small portion of the conversation
that needs to happen, but that conversation's
going to continue.
And as long as I'm here, I will come to your businesses or to
your roundtables, we will bring these White House officials to
your roundtables or to your conversations to make sure
that we are reaching you at a local level.
So please be in touch with me.
Let me know how to be of further help to all of you and to keep
on being your voices.
With that, as you all may know, this brings us to the end of our
Lunar New Year's celebration, and this is the year of the
dragon, it's a very important year for all of us,
and so I know very well the importance of what this holiday
means for all of us.
I have sat before my parents many a day with the red
envelope in hand, asking them what I can do.
I think asking myself what I can do to better myself.
I remember that my parents would come with me with these
envelopes, but the thing that I see is most important about the
Lunar New Year holiday in my home is that my parents would
make my brother and me sit down and tell them all the things
that we planned to do that next year.
And we had to put a whole list in an essay together and give
it to our parents before they gave us that red envelope.
And so I know that with our community,
this is a moment for us to think about our
resolutions moving forward.
What can we do better as a community?
What can we do better as a country?
And this is a conversation that we need to have,
is we all have a stake here today.
It's not just the President's, it's not just the people here in
Washington, D.C., it's all of us that have to sit back,
and sorry, reflect on what we can do to make this country and
this community a better place.
And so I want to tip my hat to all of you,
because you are the unsung heroes of our community.
You all do the hardest work that I can possibly imagine.
You all spend the extra hours past the opening hours to make
sure that your businesses function and that your family
is able to strive and thrive and become successful.
So with that I want to close by saying thank you to all of you,
thank you for all the work that you do,
and on behalf of this Administration we want to engage
you and continue to thank you for all the work that you do.
So we appreciate it.