Updated 9:34 a.m. ET, 1/9/2014
White House (CNN) – The White House is finally following on an initiative in 2013’s State of the Union, just three weeks before he lays out his new agenda for this year.
President Obama will host an event in the East Room on Thursday to announce what they refer to as “Promise Zones”- economically hard-hit areas where the White House will focus efforts to attract investments to overall improve the areas with job creation, economic security, education, affordable housing, and public safety.
While the President originally touted the initiative in his 2013 State of the Union address last February, Thursday’s event will be the first official launch of the program.
The White House will announce efforts in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for local governments and businesses to partner with the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy and other agencies to invest in workforce training, educational opportunities and community revitalization projects.
Those areas, White House officials say, are among the top 20 places most adversely affected by the recession. Each neighborhood or area in the “Promise Zone” has laid out specific goals and will be held accountable by program administrators and third-party experts to track their results.
In San Antonio, Mayor Julian Castro has been applauded by the White House for his efforts to work with federal programs and investments from local businesses to revitalize neighborhoods. The Eastside area of the city has partnered with St. Philip’s College for job training programs in energy, healthcare, and aerospace/advanced manufacturing jobs, among other initiatives.
“Investing in and rebuilding hard-hit communities are important parts of the President’s plan to restore the basic bargain at the heart of the American story – that every child should have a fair chance at success. And that, no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family,” a White House official said about tomorrow’s event.
The White House has cited the Youngstown, Ohio area as an example of success as a “manufacturing innovation institute” which has turned around a once-shuttered manufacturing warehouse into a thriving 3-D printing center. In 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion in a network of up to 15 similar cities.