ED Hosts Community College Virtual Symposium

“As we try to educate our way to a better economy, community colleges are absolutely going to help lead us where we need to go,” said Secretary Duncan earlier this week at the first-ever Community College Virtual Symposium.

The symposium, streamed live over the Internet from Montgomery Community College in Silver Spring, Md., brought together ED staff and other education experts for a discussion about recent research findings related to student success in community college programs.

On four separate panels, scholars spoke about policies and practices that support bridge programs for low-skill adults, alignment of secondary and postsecondary education, improved developmental education, and college-employer partnerships that promote curricular change.

On hand to help kick off the conversation were Secretary Duncan, Undersecretary Martha Kanter, Dr. Jill Biden, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Montgomery College President, Dr. DeRionne Pollard.

In his opening remarks, Secretary Duncan talked about the critical role community colleges play in providing pathways of opportunity for millions of Americans.  “Community colleges have been the unrecognized, unpolished gems on the education continuum,” Duncan said.  “Our country can’t be great and can’t be strong without community colleges leading us there.”

The symposium capped off a series of events that began with last year’s White House Community College Summit hosted by President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.  Since then, ED has hosted four regional community college summits in Philadelphia, Houston, Indianapolis, and San Diego to help extend the conversation across the country.

Click here to learn more about ED’s regional community college summits and this week’s virtual symposium.

Secretary Duncan Kicks Off First of Four Community College Regional Summits

Earlier today at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), Secretary Duncan joined Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in kicking off the first of four Community College Regional Summits aimed at boosting college completion.

The regional summit follows the White House’s successful Summit on Community College in October, and brought together 150 participants from surrounding states – representatives from community colleges, business and industry, philanthropy, labor, state and local government, and students – to explore and take to scale strategies that work in helping students succeed.

“I hope [community colleges] feel that this is their time in the sun,” said Secretary Duncan at this morning’s event. “Community colleges are an unrecognized gem along the college-career continuum.”

To coincide with the Regional Summit kick off at CCP, Dr. Jill Biden submitted an op-ed in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reminding us of the importance of community colleges in helping students achieve the American dream:

“I have been a teacher for more than 30 years and a community college instructor for the last 18 of them. Every day in my classroom, I see the power of community colleges to change lives and put students on the path to opportunity and success.

“Community colleges are uniquely American institutions, in which anyone who walks through the door is one step closer to realizing the American dream. And they will play a vital role in the nation’s economic recovery.”

While today’s summit will focus on transitioning adult learners to community colleges and the workforce, the remaining three summits will each have a different focus and will be held at a community college in a different part of the country:

  • March 9 – Lone Star College System, Houston: “Successful Transfer Programs”
  • March 23 -Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis: “Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Employers”
  • April 15 – San Diego Community College District, San Diego: “Exemplary Programs for Veterans, Military Members, and Families”

Click here for more information on the Department of Education’s Community College Regional Summits.