Once again employing a community college backdrop (Northern Virginia Community College) for a significant policy speech, President Obama has identified a major workforce initiative in his proposed 2013 fiscal year federal budget. The President proposes to establish a Community College to Career Fund in support of a national commitment to train 2 million workers with skills that will lead directly to employment.
If approved by Congress, the Fund would make $8 billion available over three years to train workers for jobs in high-demand fields; expand partnerships among business, government and community colleges; and support pathways to entrepreneurship for current and future small business owners.
This initiative faces a long road in a deficit-focused Congress. However, it is more than encouraging that President Obama continues to highlight and support community colleges as one of the principal building blocks for a strong economic future for the United States.
Community College of Philadelphia is exceptionally positioned to contribute to the President’s goal of building a high-skilled workforce. Our degrees, certificates and noncredit training programs are totally aligned with the principal industry sectors of our city and region. Our students graduate and enter robust career pathways in health care/life sciences, financial services, hospitality, transportation and technology-based occupations, among others.
With our many proficiency certificates and academic certificates, we now can offer a range of credentials that will enable Philadelphians literally to climb a ladder of educational opportunity, a ladder leading from entry level to advanced employment.
We stand ready to participate in a Community College to Career effort supported by a well-conceived infrastructure: Corporate Solutions, the workforce training arm of the College; Corporate College, designed to offer full educational programs and services directly to a company’s employees; and our new Center for Small Business Education, Growth and Training, with its focus on small business.
We shall join with community colleges across our state and nation to advocate for this central community college role. It is a role we embrace and for which we are well prepared.