One year ago, our nation was headed toward an economic collapse, shedding an average of 600,000 jobs a month. State and local budget cutbacks were putting teachers' jobs -- and our students' education -- in peril. Our economy was in need of emergency triage that would immediately begin to save and create jobs and lay the foundation for longer-term economic growth. One year after its enactment, it is clear that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is meeting these core goals.
To date, the law has already created or saved two million jobs and helped our economy grow at its fastest rate in years. It has funded more than 300,000 education jobs, keeping teachers in classrooms and children and students of all ages learning. It has helped minimize harmful cuts at public colleges and universities and provided students with larger Pell Grants to pay for college.
The Recovery Act has provided a much-needed lifeline for workers who lost their jobs -- and their health insurance along with it. Millions of Americans have received extended or increased unemployment benefits and many got help paying for their COBRA premiums because of the Recovery Act. We can't underestimate the difference this has made for laid-off workers struggling to put food on their tables, heat their homes, or pay for a visit to the doctor.
The Recovery Act is also making strategic investments in our future. Recovery programs are training displaced workers for high-growth jobs in our health care, biotech, clean energy and manufacturing sectors. The Race to the Top program is leveraging key education reforms that will better prepare our children for college, competitive jobs and a global economy.
As President Obama and Congress have repeatedly said, the Recovery Act marked the beginning of our efforts to rebuild our economy and our middle class. Too many workers continue to lose their jobs or have trouble finding new ones. Our work will not be over until every American in need of a job can find one.
RECOVERY ACT: HELPING STUDENTS, WORKERS AND FAMILIES
- 2 million: the number of jobs created or saved by Recovery dollars thus far, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
- 300,000: the number of teaching and other education-related jobs saved or created.
- $500: the increase in the Pell Grant scholarship eligible students received for the 2009-2010 year due to this law alone.
- $2.4 billion: the amount of Federal support that helped colleges and universities keep teaching, even as enrollments grew, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers.