By Kevin Bessler
(The Center Square) – In her first visit to Illinois since moving into the White House, Jill Biden stressed the importance of community colleges to the nation’s economy.
The first lady made remarks Monday at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon.
“What starts in one community college classroom, can create a chain effect that is eventually felt by every single American,” Biden said.
Biden was joined by U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who said the pandemic has been especially tough on the country’s community colleges.
“We acknowledge that the pandemic has had a significant impact on community colleges,” Cardona said. “There was over a 10% decline in community college enrollment this year.”
Cardona also noted the American Rescue Plan includes $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
Biden, Cardona and Gov. J.B. Pritzker toured the campus, including two laboratories, one of which trains students in mechanical and electrical engineering to prepare them for manufacturing jobs.
With a student body at about 1,600, Sauk Valley Community College will soon offer a program that will give students tuition for community service while they are in high school.
Biden also talked about her work as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College.
“My students come from all walks of life like I’m sure all these students who come here in school,” Biden said. “They only ask for one thing in return, the chance to work hard and build a good life for themselves and their families.”
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.