Obama Rolls Out Community College Initiative

July 14, 2009 by Emsi Burning Glass

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President Obama is slated to be at Macomb Community College in Michigan today, where he’s set to outline the details of a $12 billion plan to bolster community colleges. The lion’s share of the 10-year initiative, according to The Wall Street Journal, is $9 billion that “will be used to award grants through an ‘access and completion’ fund designed to spur community colleges and states to launch programs designed to raise graduation rates and produce graduates who are ready for the workplace or a four-year school. Administration officials say such measures could include forming partnerships with major employers or bolstering counseling and remediation programs.”

As the WSJ points out in this blog post, Obama is set to become the latest president to give a speech on the benefits of community colleges in providing nimble, labor market-driven training.

Here are some added details of Obama’s plan, according to Community College Times:

Funding for improving programs at community colleges, with an emphasis on those that are connected to employers and high demand jobs. The total funding may be as much as $9 billion over 10 years. It has not been decided yet whether this will be formula-funded or funded by a competitive grant process (or a combination). The amounts per year are still being decided.A renovation/construction fund. This could be as much as $10 billion. Whether this will be a grant program or a loan program or a combination is still being decided. There may be a K-12 component as well as a community college component.A National Skills College. This is a proposed program to provide federal funding to community colleges or consortia of community colleges to develop open source, online courses for high school and community college students. The amount of funding could be as much as $50 million annually.