Last Friday, I attended the Department of Education’s fourth and final regional community college summit at San Diego City College in San Diego. These summits were held across the country to follow up on the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges hosted by the President and Dr. Biden at the White House last October. As Dr. Biden said then, the White House Summit was only the beginning of our national outreach and efforts to demonstrate how community colleges are critical to educating the best, most competitive workforce in the world.
The San Diego summit focused on the ways community colleges are supporting and educating veterans and members of the military and their families. Summit participants heard from several veterans about how their military service prepared them for college, and about some of the challenges they encountered transitioning from the military into the classroom. Many community college leaders and students discussed how veterans have become leaders on their campuses, strengthening classroom discussions and advocating for other students and veterans. In San Diego and around the country, we have a special obligation to make sure our veterans and military families can move into promising careers and thrive after their years of service and sacrifice to our country.
The summit came on the heels of the First Lady and Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces kickoff tour. Joining Forces is an initiative to raise public awareness about military families and veterans who live in communities throughout the country, and encourage all Americans to do their part to show their appreciation and support. Community colleges are uniquely-suited to meet the Joining Forces challenge, and they set an example for all sectors of society to use their strengths and expertise to expand opportunities for our veterans. Community colleges have always responded to the needs of their communities. They educate and train the people who live and work around them to meet regional and national economic needs. And when their students are veterans, that becomes a very special mission.
Kirsten White is the Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden