President Obama designated five areas Thursday as Economic Promise Zones, three in cities, one in rural Kentucky and one on the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma.
Obama said in Promise Zones communities are working with institutions like colleges.
"They're neighborhoods where we will help local efforts to meet one national goal, that a child's course in life should be not by the zip code she's born in, but by the strength of her work ethic and the scope of her dreams," the president said.
The cities selected for the first zones are Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Antonio, while the Kentucky zone covers a multicounty region in the southeastern Highlands area. Obama said the program will be expanded to 20 during the next three years.
"And each of these communities is designing from the bottom up, not the top down, what it is they think they need, and we're working with them to make that happen," he said. "And each of these communities is prepared to do what it takes to change the odds for their kids."
The president said the idea was born from his own experience as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side and on the work of people like Geoffrey Canada, who formed the Harlem Children's Zone. Canada was present at Obama's announcement Thursday.
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Original headline: Obama announces five Economic Promise Zones
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