This month the Obama Administration is emphasizing President Obama’s message that to win the future America must out-educate the global competition. As part of this effort, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is starting a “Hometown High School” program that encourages and enables USTR employees to connect with their high school alma maters, to speak to current students about the value of education in their careers. The program also provides USTR staff with an opportunity to communicate the benefits of trade to the next generation of American workers and to share their experiences in public service.
Yesterday, Amy Burke, a Specialist in the Congressional Affairs office of USTR, returned to Hammond High School in Columbia, Maryland, to kick off USTR’s Hometown High School program. Amy met with current students of Mr. Ben Grabenstein’s AP American Government and Ms. Jody Zepp’s American Government classes.
Amy shared how her educational experiences at Hammond High School helped prepare her for a career in public service leading to her current position at USTR. Specifically, Amy conveyed how her study of Korean language provided her with a valuable skill that was needed when President Obama and Ambassador Kirk traveled to South Korea for the G20 Summit. There she supported high-level trade negotiations and had the opportunity to meet President Obama. Reflecting on this experience, Amy reminded the class that anything is possible in America, and she advised the students that no matter what they want to do in life, education will be the surest path to long-term success.
Amy’s presentation sparked a lively question-and-answer session with Mr. Grabenstein’s class, which is currently studying economic policy and trade. Students discussed how maintaining a level playing field in open international markets can strengthen the U.S. economy by allowing American businesses to export and sell more products to customers abroad, which in turn supports jobs for U.S. workers here at home.