February 28th, 2011
08:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Two of President Obama’s cabinet secretaries headed to Philadelphia on Monday to promote community involvement in promoting community colleges.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis led the first of four regional meetings, which is a continuation of President Obama’s White House Summit on Community Colleges last October.
Monday’s gathering brought together community leaders and students at the Community College of Philadelphia to discuss ways members of the academic, business, and labor communities can help to increase the completion rates at community colleges.
“I hope [community colleges] feel that this is their time in the sun,” said Secretary Duncan. “Community colleges are an unrecognized gem along the college-career continuum.”
Growth at community colleges has been one priority for the White House. In the October summit in the East Room of the White House, President Obama called these schools “unsung heroes” and “the key to our country’s future” and said they would play a major part in his goal of leading the world in college graduates by 2020.
“On community college campuses across the country, millions of students are eager to build a more secure future for themselves, their families, and the country. We must not let them down,“ said Dr. Jill Biden in an accompanying op-ed appearing in Monday’s Philadelphia Inquirer.
Dr. Biden, who teaches at English at Northern Virginia Community College, chaired October’s summit and was tapped by the president to travel to community colleges around the country to learn more about job partnerships and student support programs.
Following today’s summit, the other three meetings will take place this spring in Houston, Indianapolis, and San Diego.