Now, let me tell you, careers focused on lifting up our communities—— whether it's helping troubled schools or creating after-school programs or training workers for green jobs —these careers are not always obvious, but today they are necessary, solutions to our nation's most challenging social problems are not going to come from Washington alone. Real innovation often starts with individuals who apply themselves to solve a problem right in their own community. That's where the best ideas came from.
And some pretty incredible social innovations have been launched by young people all across this world.
Teach for American in this country is a great example. It was created by Wendy Kopp as a part of her undergraduate senior thesis in 1989. And now, as a result of her work then, more than 6,200 corps members are teaching in our country's neediest communities, reaching approximately 400,000 students.
And then there's Van Jones, who recently joined the Obama administration, as a special adviser to the President on green jobs, Van started out as a grassroots organizer and became an advocate an d a creator of "Green collar" jobs—jobs that are not only good for the environment, but also provide good wages and career advancement for both skilled and unskilled workers; jobs similar to ones beig created right here at UC Merced as this green campus continues to grow.