Community college announcement could be crucial step in helping America's workers prepare for economic growth


Jul 28, 2009

A national alliance of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public workforce officials is responding to an announcement anticipated by President Obama to expand the capacity of community colleges to respond to rising demand for job training.

The Workforce Alliance calls the proposal a crucial step toward implementing the vision first posed by President Obama to a joint session of Congress in February. Since then, he has repeated his challenge to every American to obtain at least one year of training past high school, “be it at a community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship,” so that every person can be part of the nation’s immediate recovery and long-term economic growth.

For months, the President has been previewing the announcement as a key initiative of his Administration, to complement previous efforts to expand access to traditional college degrees. The announcement will come on the heels of the Administration’s efforts to make Pell grants more widely available to unemployed workers as well as significant investments in the nation’s workforce training system under the Recovery Act.

Based on early media reports, the Administration’s plan will likely include $9 billion in competitive grants to community colleges and states over ten years; a $10 billion loan fund to expand community college facilities; and $50 million to expand online learning options.