The White House Summit

The administration of President Barack Obama has devoted considerable attention to community colleges. As part of his call to increase college enrollments and completion among young people, the President has asked community colleges to increase the number of graduates and program completers by five million students over a 10-year period, representing a 50 percent increase over current numbers.

In October 2010, the Obama Administration held a summit on community colleges at the White House organized by Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joseph Biden and an adjunct professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College. At that summit, President Obama called community colleges the “unsung heroes” of American education and emphasized the critical role they play in sustaining the nation’s competitiveness. He pointed out that in the coming years jobs requiring at least an associate’s degree are projected to increase twice as fast as those requiring no college experience. “We will not fill those jobs—or keep those jobs on our shores—without community colleges,” the President said (White House, 2011).

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