Obama Sets Stage for Community College Plan

July 13, 2009

President Obama is getting ready to unveil his plan to help community colleges improve the job skills of Americans. Writing in The Washington Post Sunday, Obama stressed the importance of community colleges. "In an economy where jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience, it's never been more essential to continue education and training after high school. That's why we've set a goal of leading the world in college degrees by 2020. Part of this goal will be met by helping Americans better afford a college education. But part of it will also be strengthening our network of community colleges," Obama wrote, saying he would be talking about this issue during the week ahead. "We believe it's time to reform our community colleges so that they provide Americans of all ages a chance to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for the jobs of the future.... We can reallocate funding to help them modernize their facilities, increase the quality of online courses and ultimately meet the goal of graduating 5 million more Americans from community colleges by 2020." While Obama did not provide details, a draft of the plan from the end of last month was discussed in Inside Higher Ed, and featured billions for job training, low-interest facilities loans and smaller sums to create free online courses. The likely setting for Obama to release his plan is Macomb Community College, in Michigan, where Obama will appear on Tuesday.

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