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April 20, 2021

First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Reaffirm Value of Community Colleges

On April 19, 2021, First Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, with Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker and College Promise CEO Martha Kanter, visited Sauk Valley Community College (SVCC) in Dixon, Illinois. After a tour of the campus, Dr. Biden and Secretary Cardona gave short addresses reaffirming the value of community colleges as important drivers of economic mobility and growth for both students and entire communities, especially in America’s rural communities.

As Dr. Biden noted in her speech, community colleges are invaluable for “meeting students where they are,” offering low-cost education and training to students from all walks of life. Especially as students and families work to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, access to higher education will be essential for closing equity gaps and putting Americans back on track to obtain good jobs. Rural community colleges, like SVCC, are particularly impactful as they help build meaningful pathways for students within communities that are often otherwise disconnected from resources and opportunities.

Dr. Biden offered a special acknowledgment of the College Promise movement saying, “My partner in this endeavor, Martha Kanter is with us today... College Promise is a place where all Americans can come together and find common ground.

Dr. Biden and Secretary Cardona learned about and praised SVCC's vision to expand access to higher education across the region through the launch of the SVCC Impact Program. The Impact program would give students the opportunity to earn their degree with little-to-no debt while engaging in meaningful career exploration, accelerated learning or training, required community service, and access to various wraparound student supports. SVCC intends for the Impact program to build significant change from early education all the way through employment and community population retention, mirroring the First Lady’s nationwide goals of “reimagining our education system from preschool to college.”

To watch the video recording of the event, click here.

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