By Zenitha Prince
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Speaking at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., on Sept. 9, the president announced $175 million worth of apprenticeship grants that will train 34,000 new apprentices in advanced manufacturing and STEM-related fields. He also announced the creation of the College Promise Advisory Board to help ensure that qualified students receive two free years of free education at participating community colleges.
“Education has always been the secret sauce, the secret to America’s success,” Mr. Obama said, later adding, “Whether it is a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, a journeyman’s card from an apprenticeship program, having a credential above and beyond your high school diploma, that’s the surest ticket to the middle class. And in global competition for jobs and industries, having the best-educated workforce in the world is the surest way for America to stay on top.”
The Department of Labor is overseeing the apprenticeship grants, and has distributed the $175 million to 46 public-private partnerships which include the concerted efforts of employers, organized labor, non-profits, local governments, and educational institutions.
The College Promise Advisory Board, headed by Jill Biden, a community college professor and wife of Vice President Joe Biden, is an independent body meant to further the free community college initiative launched by President Obama in 2009. It will feature initiatives such as the Heads Up America campaign, which will utilize community college stakeholders to advance the cause and increase participation in the free education program.