President Obama set to visit Elkhart for fifth time
President Obama’s first trip as president was to Concord High School, and it will also be one of his last.
During his June 1 trip to Elkhart, the president is expected to talk about economic progress that both Elkhart and America has made, as well as the economic challenges that still remain.
Elkhart residents will have an opportunity to talk directly to President Obama during a town hall meeting, hosted by PBS, at the Lerner Theater.
The economic environment in Elkhart has changed drastically since 2009. In a press release issued by the White House, Elkhart’s unemployment levels peaked at 19.6 percent in 2009, dropping to 4.1 percent in 2016.
Graduation rates in Elkhart County public schools have also shown improvement. Rates jumped from 75 percent to nearly 90 percent.
The following was an email written by President Obama , explaining why he is returning to Elkhart:
From: President Barack Obama
Subject: Why I'm going back to Elkhart // Elkhart
Just three weeks into my presidency, I made a promise to the people of Elkhart, Indiana.
It was the first city I visited as President. Folks there had been hit harder by the recession than almost anywhere else in America. The unemployment rate was on its way to nearly twenty percent. Companies that had sustained that community for years were shedding jobs at an alarming speed -- and hardworking families were losing their homes and health care along with those jobs.
When I spoke to the people of Elkhart in February of 2009, I promised them that if we worked together, we could pull that community and this country out of the depths of recession -- that we could not only recover, but put ourselves on a better, stronger course.
Today, thanks to the hard work of people in Elkhart and in communities across the country, America has recovered from crisis and we’re on the cusp of resurgence.
The story of Elkhart's recovery is the story of America's recovery.
Today, Elkhart's manufacturing industry is back, and the town has regained nearly all of the jobs it lost during the downturn. The unemployment rate is lower than it was before the recession, and lower than the national average. In Indiana, more people have health insurance, and fewer homeowners are underwater.
This progress is thanks to the effort and determination of Americans like you. And it’s a result of the choices we made as a nation.
We still face some tough economic challenges, there’s no doubt about it. And all of us have to make some very important decisions about where we go from here.
President Barack Obama