City leaders from all over the US descended on Washington DC this week for the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference. The conference drew a number of high profile attendees and speakers, most notably President Obama. City leaders also announced a handful of initiatives aimed at improving civic life.
During the President’s remarks, he pushed for an initiative called TechHire which is aimed at providing training and support for Americans seeking high tech jobs. 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.
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.”
Yesterday, delegates also held a day-long advocacy session on Capitol Hill to push for transportation and infrastructure spending. Delegates are pushing for a multi-faceted spending package that will allow municipalities to maintain and build much needed transportation and infrastructure systems.
Delegates would like to see six years of funding included in the bill – a tall order for a Congress that can barely manages its obligations from week to week. They also want to see long term fixes to the Highway Trust Fund which has been stretched nearly to the breaking point.
“Despite rapid change in technology and the transportation marketplace, federal policy has remained inert,” said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. “We need support from federal partners that recognize the role of local government to make the best choices for our communities.”