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The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) population is the most rapidly growing ethnic group in the country and is expected to increase to over 40 million individuals by 2060.  AAPIs have helped build a strong and vibrant America.  Generations of AAPI individuals, families, and communities are composed of diverse and varied ethnicities, languages, and cultures, and include residents of United States Pacific Island territories and freely associated states.  They play an important economic role, having started businesses and generated jobs that pay billions of dollars in wages and taxes, including founding some of our Nation’s most successful and innovative enterprises.  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made important contributions to science and technology, culture and the arts, and the professions, such as business, law, medicine, education, politics, and economics.  Their shared accomplishments and legacies are inspirational, significant, and celebrated part of the American experience.

While we celebrate the many contributions of the AAPI communities to our Nation, we also recognize that AAPI communities and enterprises encounter challenges accessing economic resources and opportunities.  Many of the more than 1.9 million AAPI-owned enterprises are small sole-proprietorships that need assistance to access available resources such as business development counseling, small-business loans, and government procurement opportunities.  Today’s AAPI workforce is the largest it has been in American history, and we will continue striving toward furthering AAPI advancement in employment and workforce development as well as increasing AAPI participation and representation in the upper levels of leadership in the public and private sectors.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders works to broaden Asian American and Pacific Islander access to economic resources and opportunities and thus empower AAPIs to improve the quality of their lives, raise the standard of living of their families and communities, and more fully participate in our economy.  

Learn more about our mission and the Executive Order on Economic Empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that was issued on May 13, 2019.

Who We Are:

  • Co-Chairs
    • The Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation serve as the Co-Chairs of the Initiative and direct its work pursuant to the guidance and direction of the President.
  • The President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs
    • The Commission provides advice to the President, through the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Transportation, who serve as Co-Chairs of the Initiative.  Together with the Initiative, the Commission works to broaden access by AAPI employers and communities to economic resources and opportunities.  Additionally, the Commission works to advance relevant evidence-based research, data collection, and analysis for AAPI populations, subpopulations, and businesses.  
  • The Interagency Working Group (IWG)
    • The heads of each of the executive branch departments, agencies, and offices shall designate the senior Federal officials who will serve as their respective representatives on the Initiative. These designees are known collectively as the Interagency Working Group.
  • The Regional Network (RN)
    • The Regional Network comprises over 300 members in the 10 federal regions, representing more than 30 federal agencies. The RN seeks to build relationships between the federal government and the AAPI community by coordinating outreach and engagement efforts across regional offices.
  • The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
    • The office of the Initiative works with the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs, Regional Network and Interagency Working Group.  The Initiative advises the Co-Chairs on the implementation and coordination of Federal programs as they relate to AAPI access to economic resources and opportunities.
    • Tina Wei Smith, Executive Director

 

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