Jill Biden, Hilda Solis Promote Community College Partnerships On Bus Tour
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Jill Biden set off on a five-state bus tour this week to promote partnerships between community colleges and the business community.
The two are expected to speak in favor of the Community College to Career Fund, an $8 billion initiative in President Obama’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget that would seek to train two million community college students with the skills to enter gainful fields. During appearances so far, Biden has emphasized the role of community colleges in providing a resource for nontraditional students.
“I've seen moms juggling jobs and child care, launch themselves into new careers,” Biden said during an appearance at Columbus State Community College. “I've seen workers gone as far as they can in their jobs get the skills they need to reach the next level in their field. I've seen high school grads take another step on the road to a 4-year college degree, and I've seen people in their 40s and 50s, who've been out of work so long they've nearly given up hope, now get the chance they need, and I've seen what happens in a community college classroom, and I'm sure we can all say it's extraordinary.”
The administration has promoted the Career Fund, which seeks input from employers on how to best train workers using programs like apprenticeships and internships, as an efficient way to bring skilled American workers into the job market. The fund will reward colleges and workforce organizations that demonstrate results in placing workers into relevant positions.
“It's designed to help workers obtain the skills they need to get job offers in industries that are hiring right now,” Solis said in advance of the tour. “The idea here is simple. Community colleges will partner with businesses to develop training programs that match the needs of local job creators.”
Solis is a former U.S. representative from California, and has served as Labor Secretary under the Obama administration. Biden, who is married to Vice President Joe Biden, has taught English at Delaware Technical & Community College and Northern Virginia Community College.
The White House has doubled down on initiatives intended to promote domestic manufacturing and economic sustainability in advance of a presidential race likely to focus on the state of the economy. In January, Obama hosted a forum of businesses judged to have committed to domestic investments in labor and facilities, which the administration has termed “insourcing.”
Jon Christian is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Christian.
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