NEA Participates in White House Community College Summit

By Miguel Gonzalez

At the request of President Barack Obama, Dr. Jill Biden today convened the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges.

The event brought together community colleges, the business and philanthropic communities, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the nation’s job training and education needs. The summit highlighted the critical role that community colleges can play in achieving President Obama’s goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

Jim Rice, president of NEA’s National Council for Higher Education, is participating in the summit, representing NEA’s 200,000-plus higher education members — including 50,000 who work in community colleges. Most of the higher education members are faculty, both tenured and contingent, but they also include various types of college and university staff:  counselors, librarians, technicians, academic professionals, administrative, and clerical staff that perform vital roles to keep the institutions running. Mr. Rice is a Speech professor at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass.

Rice applauded President Obama and Biden for elevating the national discussion about the critical role community colleges play in shaping the economic future of this nation.

“We’re glad that they continue to emphasize the importance of education to our nation and to our diverse student populations,” Rice said. “We believe community colleges are well positioned to prepare all students to compete and succeed in a 21st century global economy.

“I look forward to seeing how the summit can move our nation forward. Our students’ success and the economic well being of our nation are at stake.”

Photo: Lawrence Jackson/The White House