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Building the Workforce of the Future at Community Colleges

Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis tour community colleges that are training workers for jobs with local businesses looking to hire workers with specific skill sets.

Dr. Jill Biden was at the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey this morning, the latest stop in her “Community College to Career” tour. Last month, Dr. Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hit the road for a bus tour through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia where they visited community colleges that have formed innovative partnerships with local business leaders to train students with the skills they need to join the area workforce.

Employers today are looking for skilled, educated workers, and they should be able to find those workers right here in the United States. Adam Dalton, a machine shop instructor at the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman, Tennessee, said that “I have people calling me every week saying ‘I need guys and gals with this skillset, and we need them now.’”

Secretary Solis said that community colleges are becoming more adept and more agile at listening to the needs of local businesses, and are helping pair trained workers who need jobs with the employers who are looking to hire.

When Gatorade, for example, opened a new facility in Wytheville, Virginia, it brought new technologies that local workers had no experience with. The local community college worked with the company to train new employees in industrial maintenance, and hundreds of people now have jobs because of their partnership.

Dr. Biden, a community college professor herself, said she was inspired by the bus tour. Programs they visited are offering people “hope—that they can get a job, get training, and support their families—and that’s what they are looking to do.”

Watch the video above to learn more about the schools and programs Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis visited on their trip. 

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