On October 5, 2010, Dr. Jill Biden will chair the first-ever White House Summit on Community College. President Obama asked Dr. Biden to convene this event to highlight the critical role that community colleges play in developing America's workforce and reaching our educational goals.
The summit is an opportunity to bring together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation's evolving workforce, as well as the critical role these institutions play in achieving the President's goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.
There are a number of ways to participate:
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where and when will the summit be held?
The event will be held on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. The exact location has not been published. Watch for new details as they are made public at the White House site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege.
2. Who will lead the summit?
President Obama has asked Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of the vice president and a long-time community college instructor to lead the summit. Dr. Biden currently teaches at Northern Virginia Community College in the D.C. area.
3. Who will be invited to the summit?
The invitation list has not been disclosed. Press information says that it will include "community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students." One or more AACC representatives will also participate on behalf of its members.
4. How can my college be invited?
The White House has full control of who may attend. AACC urges your college to participate by submitting a video, joining the dialogue online, or planning a viewing event. For links to information about these options, see the White House link.
5. What are the goals of the summit?
The stated goal is to "discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation's evolving workforce, as well as the critical role these institutions play in achieving the President's goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020." We also expect some aspect of the program to focus specifically on how to address the needs of military service members and their families.
6. What are some ways my college can benefit without attending?
Part of the value of any high-profile, national event is the opportunity it offers to increase visibility for your colleges. Be part of the dialogue by commenting directly to the White House at http://communitycollege.ideascale.com/. You may also use this high-profile national event as a news "hook" for your college in your local market. Here are some other ideas for putting your college in the spotlight:
- Write an op-ed focusing on the issue of helping more students complete degrees and other credentials and what your college is doing about it. Be sure to include statistics and examples, including specific student experiences to "put a face" on the issue. Or write an op-ed about the ways your college is helping students retrain to keep or gain employment. Send any published op-ed to business leaders and policymakers.
- Write a letter to the editor focusing on the completion and employment issues.
- Plan a viewing event (the general session of the White House Summit will be available to view online) for college personnel and invited community members. Plan a discussion of completion or your college's role in workforce development following the viewing session. Include local business and community leaders.
- Plan a signing event around your college's signing of the completion commitment sent earlier from AACC to your president. Schedule your public event to coincide with the White House Summit. Be sure to augment the AACC suggested template for a Call to Action with specific steps your college has taken or will take. Reach out to policymakers to include or inform them of your commitment and be sure to include students. Send a copy of your signed commitment to AACC for posting on the association Web site.
- Pitch a news story touting your college's role in preparing workers to meet local need in high-demand industries.
- Reach out to electronic media and offer a series of profiles on "hot jobs" in your locale: what they are, how to train, what they pay and how to get more information on these programs through your college. Be sure internal personnel are alerted if this outreach is successful so they can be prepared for a high volume of calls and have program information available.