Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - 5:56pm

“We're excited that President Obama chose to focus the nation's attention on community colleges and their potential to impact our nation's future,” said JCC President Gregory T. DeCinque, commenting on the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, held today in Washington, D.C.

President Obama delivered opening remarks at the daylong event which was hosted by Jill Biden, who has taught English at community colleges for 17 of her 30 years as an educator and who is the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

“The nation needs to recognize that community colleges like JCC provide the best value in today's higher education marketplace by combining high quality with affordability,” Dr. DeCinque said. “Community colleges are excellent choices for students who are planning to transfer to bachelor's degree programs as well as those who are looking for direct entry into career fields.”

Dr. DeCinque noted that the State University of New York's 30 community colleges were represented at the summit by former U.S. Congressman and Erie Community College President Jack Quinn. “I was pleased to have an opportunity to provide input to Mr. Quinn as he prepared for this historic event,” Dr. DeCinque said.

The summit involved representatives from community colleges, business, philanthropy, and government in discussions about how community colleges can meet the increased demand for job training and also help fulfill President Obama's wish for the U.S. to become the world's top producer of college graduates by 2020.

Summit topics included pathways to baccalaureate degrees, increasing community college completion, financial aid for community college students, the importance of community colleges to veterans and military families, and industry-community college partnerships.

“President Obama is looking to the nation's nearly 1,200 community colleges to turn out five million of the eight million graduates his administration says will be needed to meet this goal,” Dr. DeCinque. “New investments of both private and public funds will be essential to maximize the impact of community colleges.”

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