| Oct 06, 2010
Jill Biden put community colleges in the national spotlight Tuesday, October 5, saying they're at "the center of America's effort to educate our way to a better economy." Biden, who has taught for almost 30 years, was joined by President Barack Obama as she hosted the first White House summit on community colleges, highlighting their role in work-force development. Obama has said that by 2020, the nation should graduate 5 million more men and women from community colleges and the nation should once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
"Getting Americans back to work is America's great challenge," Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, told academic, business and philanthropic leaders gathered in the East Room. "And community colleges are critically important to preparing graduates for those jobs."
Obama said America is in a "global competition" to lead in growth industries at a time when the country has fallen from first to ninth place in the proportion of people with college degrees. Jobs requiring at least an associate's degree will increase twice as fast as those that don't require college, he said."We will not fill those jobs -- or keep those on our shores -- without community colleges," Obama said.
During the summit, Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, announced that the Gates Foundation will finance a competitive grant program to invest $35 million over five years in community colleges that serve the largest populations of low-income students in nine states. Read more in The News Journal online.