Five time Jeopardy winner, rocket scientist, and Congressman, Rush Holt (D-NJ), teamed up with U.S. Department of Education Undersecretary Martha Kanter last Wednesday to highlight the important role community colleges play in meeting President Obama’s goal for the U.S. to once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Wednesday’s community forum hosted by Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in Trenton, NJ brought students, administrators, and other stakeholders together to discuss student success in community college programs. Both Kanter and Holt emphasized the need to increase postsecondary access and accelerate college completion to build stronger bridges from high schools, adult education, community colleges, four-year universities, and the workforce.
In her opening remarks Undersecretary Kanter, who is a former community college president, underscored their importance. “Our ability to win the future will depend on the nation’s community colleges, the institutions that incubate nearly half of our country’s undergraduates,” Kanter said. “This is the new generation that will move our nation forward.”
Congressman Holt told Mercer County students and faculty that “as a former educator, I see a vital need for federal investment in education. If America is going to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world, we need to have a smart, well-trained workforce.”
They heard from students like Pam Prather who described her struggles as a youth and how community college gave her another opportunity to reach her potential, while several other students expressed appreciation that the Obama administration had increased the maximum Pell Grant awards to $5,550.
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