|President Barack Obama said community colleges are the “unsung heroes” of the U.S. education system and play a crucial role in training American workers to compete in the global economy.
Education is the key to future economic growth and the U.S. is falling behind other nations in the number of college graduates, Obama said today at the first White House summit on community colleges.
“We are in a global competition to lead in the growth industries of the 21st century,” he said. “And that leadership depends on a well-educated, highly skilled workforce.”
The summit was the second event in two days at which the administration is focusing on community colleges a source for training the U.S. workforce and increasing the nation’s education levels. Yesterday Obama announced an initiative that links companies including McDonald’s Corp., Gap Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric, Accenture Plc and United Technologies Corp. with community colleges to develop programs.
The effort is getting a boost with a $35 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will fund grants to groups of the colleges in nine states that develop plans to address the needs of low-income students.