I am here today to talk about what the Federal Reserve is doing to help our nation recover from the financial crisis and the Great Recession, the effects of which were particularly severe for the people and the communities you serve.
Part of that effort has involved strengthening the financial system. New rules are in place to better protect consumers and ensure that credit is available to help communities grow. The Federal Reserve also plays a role in communities by fostering dialogue that promotes community development. I will highlight some initiatives around the Federal Reserve System that I believe are making a real difference. Later today, I will visit the Manufacturing Technology Program at Daley College, on Chicago's south side, where adult students are acquiring the skills they need to connect to good-paying jobs in that sector.
The Fed supports the work you do in communities because you make a difference. You help ensure that credit is available for families to buy homes and for small businesses to expand. Your organizations sponsor programs that help make communities safer and families healthier and more financially secure. One of the most important things you do is to help people meet the demands of finding a job in what remains a challenging economy. And that help is crucial, but I also believe it can't succeed without two other things.
The first of these is the courage and determination of the people you serve. The past six years have been difficult for many Americans, but the hardships faced by some have shattered lives and families. Too many people know firsthand how devastating it is to lose a job at which you had succeeded and be unable to find another; to run through your savings and even lose your home, as months and sometimes years pass trying to find work; to feel your marriage and other relationships strained and broken by financial difficulties. And yet many of those who have suffered the most find the will to keep trying. I will introduce you to three of these brave men and women, your neighbors here in the great city of Chicago. These individuals have benefited from just the kind of help from community groups that I highlighted a moment ago, and they recently shared their personal stories with me.
It might seem obvious, but the second thing that is needed to help people find jobs...is jobs. No amount of training will be enough if there are not enough jobs to fill. I have mentioned some of the things the Fed does to help communities, but the most important thing we do is to use monetary policy to promote a stronger economy. The Federal Reserve has taken extraordinary steps since the onset of the financial crisis to spur economic activity and create jobs, and I will explain why I believe those efforts are still needed.
The Fed provides this help by influencing interest rates. Although we work through financial markets, our goal is to help Main Street, not Wall Street. By keeping interest rates low, we are trying to make homes more affordable and revive the housing market. We are trying to make it cheaper for businesses to build, expand, and hire. We are trying to lower the costs of buying a car that can carry a worker to a new job and kids to school, and our policies are also spurring the revival of the auto industry. We are trying to help families afford things they need so that greater spending can drive job creation and even more spending, thereby strengthening the recovery.