A Breakthrough Year for America

In last night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama covered a lot of ground around topics like jobs and the economy, immigration, education, and energy. As with many of these addresses in the past, regardless who was serving as our country’s Chief of Staff, there are several mixed reviews of what the President had to say. Some may support the proposed initiatives highlighted last night, while others may have little faith that many of the changes will occur, and there are many articles already published that critique the address.

One constant that was evident and encompassed the entire Address was change. In order for America to grow, we need change. President Obama structured that change in the form of raising the minimum wage, offering equal pay for equal work, keeping the dream of homeownership alive, driving health insurance reform, providing next-generation connectivity, and incentivizing clean energy solutions, among others. Another change that caught my ear was the examination of federal job training programs.

President Obama stated he is involving Vice-President Biden in an “across the board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need.” “That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life,” Obama said.

A change like this to federal job training programs could solve a complex issue that is facing our government—leadership deficiency. Agencies need to develop their leaders and equip them with the skills needed to develop into a candidate for the Senior Executive Service (SES) or other leadership positions that are currently unfilled. With a vast number of federal employees set to retire, many agencies will soon be faced with the conundrum of who will fill those leadership roles. Considering that this next generation will lead the federal agencies that support the overall mission of our country, let’s hope that Obama’s hope to reform federal job training programs includes leadership training.

What did you think about President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night?

Are you ready for a Year of Action?

Read more about leadership in the government at www.howgovleads.com.

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David B. Grinberg

While feds may be ready for such action, Kristina, I highly doubt a divided Congress will see eye-to-eye with the President — especially during a critically important election year.

Yes, the speech was excellent. This president, like prior ones (Clinton and Reagan come to mind) is an exemplary communicator who can touch the hearts and minds of the American people. However, all SOTU speeches by any president, generally, are basically window dressing and pomp.

Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Let’s hope that Congress and the President can at least agree to act on issues of mutual interest and mutual support. Neither side will get everything they want, nor should they (unless one party controls the WH and Congress).

However, finding common ground should not be so elusive. It’s time for Congress to put petty partisan politics aside, stop worrying about the polls and instead work for the good of the nation in a bipartisan spirit of cooperation wherever and whenever possible.

That’s the only way real change and progress will occur.