I got my start in public service as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees in California, where I saw firsthand how a community college can impact the lives of young people regardless of where they come from, who their parents were, or what job they dreamed of doing.
But I recently had a chance to see how much more powerful that story can be when you multiply it by the more than 1,000 community colleges across America… and provide them with resources to re-tool the American workforce.
That’s a story that needed to be shared, so last week, Dr. Jill Biden and I took to the road for the Community College to Career Tour across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, to highlight successful partnerships between community colleges and local employers that are providing students young and old with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace from day one.
Dr. Biden is no stranger to a community college campus. For 18 years she has taught on one, first in Delaware, and now in Northern Virginia where she still teaches full time. She’s an educator through and through, so it’s no surprise that over the course of our three days together on a bus through the heart of America, she managed to help me see just how special our community colleges can be. As she said it best, “community colleges aren’t just changing lives, they can help to change America.”
That’s why the Department of Labor’s investments in community colleges are so important, and why the President’s proposal to invest another $8 billion through the Community College to Career Fund just makes sense.
Over the course of the tour we learned how Cincinnati State is training in-demand healthcare workers and building a national model in the process, how a small community college in Southwestern Virginia helped entice a major employer to set up shop, and how a technical college is helping Ford re-tool its Louisville Assembly Plant and its Kentucky workforce.
But more than that we met Marlon, Jim, Amy, Corey, Danny, Lou, Carolyn and many more students, teachers, graduates, and employers who are helping to change America. So I hope you’ll click follow along and enjoy the tour as much as I did.