Cardona Underscores Importance of Community Colleges in Letter
instrumentalto preparing students for high-demand jobs.
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- U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said community colleges are key to preparing students for high-demand, high-paying jobs in a letter published by the American Association of Community Colleges.
- Cardona said recent federal investments mean there will be a
tsunami of great, well-paying jobs in America coming.
- Cardona also touted President Joe Biden's sweeping free community college budget proposal and emphasized the Biden-Harris administration's commitment to community colleges.
As federal legislation spurs companies to expand high-tech manufacturing and infrastructure jobs across the country, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a letter Wednesday that community colleges will be key to preparing students for those jobs.
In the letter published by the American Association of Community Colleges, Cardona said there is a
tsunami of great, well-paying jobs in America coming, thanks to federal legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and investments to combat climate change.
Community colleges will be instrumental in this work, Cardona wrote.
They are situated in virtually every community across the country, rural to urban, and provide high-quality pathways to great jobs and higher wages. They do this work while serving students from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, from high school students in dual-enrollment programs to working adults seeking to upskill.
Government officials and private employers alike have looked to community colleges to combat national skill shortages in high-demand fields like cybersecurity in recent years.
Austin Community College in May announced a cybersecurity bachelor's degree to launch in the fall, and school officials emphasized the projected growth in that field both locally and nationally, BestColleges reported.
With the growth of the virtual world, the demand for skilled workers in cybersecurity is more critical than ever before, Austin Community College Chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes said.
It is vital we provide the right training to develop the skills for these high-paying careers. This new bachelor's degree gives us the opportunity to provide a more accessible pathway at a fraction of the cost.
Community colleges in Ohio are already implementing curriculum to train students for jobs at Intel's $20 billion semiconductor facility near Columbus, Ohio Association of Community Colleges President and CEO Jack Hershey previously told BestColleges.
Community colleges are uniquely positioned to address changing workforce needs thanks to their status as anchor institutions in their communities, Hershey said.
No matter what industry and no matter what corner of the state, we are hearing from employers across the board that they need more people to graduate from community colleges, Hershey said.
Cardona also touted President Joe Biden's proposed budget, which calls for $90 billion to fund free community college over the next decade and includes a $500 million grant program to kick-start that free community college effort.
Whether Congress will accept that proposal remains unclear: Free College Tuition CEO Ryan Morgan previously told BestColleges that the massive free community college investment is
a starting point in a negotiation.
Cardona also highlighted the American Rescue Plan Act's investments in community colleges. BestColleges previously reported that billions in federal relief funding went directly to community college students using emergency relief funds.
The Biden-Harris Administration believes in you and will continue to champion you, Cardona wrote.
Let's continue working together to raise the bar for educational attainment and create pathways for students of all backgrounds to build rewarding careers and prosperous communities.