Barack Obama faces heated questions from the public at Linkedin's town hall in Silicon Valley, California about his new jobs bill.


Q    As Jeff mentioned, I have a 22-year, very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced.  And not only that, I look at the statistics of unemployment -- 16.7 percent for African Americans.  My question would be -- and not just for the African Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering -- what would be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today?

     THE PRESIDENT:  What I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you're going to be successful.  You've got a leg up on a lot of folks.  You've got skills, you've got experience, you've got a track record of success.  Right now your challenge is not you, it's the economy as a whole.  And by the way, this is not just an American challenge; this is happening worldwide.

 So I guess the main message I have for you is the problem is not you; the problem is the economy as a whole.  You are going to be well equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it's growing again.  My job is to work with everybody I can -- from the business community to Congress, to not-for-profits, you name it -- to see if we can speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery. 

And in the meantime, we will make sure that things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available.  And if there are -- since you’re in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, we are going to make sure that the resource is available for you to be able to go back to school and do that.