White House AAPI Initiative To Increase Asian American Access to Federal Programs

Kiran Ahuja is the Executive Director of the White House's AAPI Initiative.

With Asian American Heritage Month just around the corner, the White House’s Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative announced today that it will be holding a series of events and round-table discussions with APIA community leaders to improve access and participation in federal programs.

Here’s the press release:

White House Initiative Launches Campaign to Increase Asian American and Pacific Islander Access, Participation in Federal Programs

In advance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders today announced the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the lives of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities underserved by federal resources. The Initiative will collaborate with top agency officials and community leaders in roundtable discussions on education opportunities, housing, jobs, employment issues and health disparities. Experts with hands-on community experience will advise federal agencies on critical issues and share innovative models of proven success.

“We want all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to know what resources the Obama administration has available to help improve their lives,” Executive Director Kiran Ahuja said. “By building strong collaboration between federal agency officials and community leaders, we’re taking the first step towards investing in a mutually beneficial partnership to create easier access to educational opportunities and program services.”

“The President is committed to maximizing the government’s ability to address the needs of the AAPI communities through this initiative,” Chris Lu, assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary, said. “President Obama and his administration are doing everything we can to support the efforts to increase AAPI access and participation in federal programs, especially during these tough economic times.”

Like all Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are suffering severe challenges in the current economic crises. AAPIs have experienced the largest decline in homeownership of any racial group over the last year. Poverty rates, work-related injuries and job losses also have increased.

Working with Initiative co-chairs U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Ahuja has already built a strong team at the Initiative. She has enlisted many administration officials to hold dozens of events during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will discuss employment and labor issues with community leaders. Secretary Locke will hold a Web chat to discuss the Initiative’s work, and Secretary Duncan will visit a public school with a high percentage of Asian American students and a strong bilingual education program.

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