President Obama, CEA Write On Community Colleges and Worker Skills

President Obama has been a long time supporter of the notion that America's community college system can help create a workforce for a 21st century economy. He sounded that note in an op-ed on Sunday and his White House Council of Economic Advisors wrote on the value of community colleges in training the American workforce in a report released today on the Jobs of the Future.

Obama in the Washington Post:

We believe it's time to reform our community colleges so that they provide Americans of all ages a chance to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for the jobs of the future. Our community colleges can serve as 21st-century job training centers, working with local businesses to help workers learn the skills they need to fill the jobs of the future. We can reallocate funding to help them modernize their facilities, increase the quality of online courses and ultimately meet the goal of graduating 5 million more Americans from community colleges by 2020.

From the CEA report, entitled Preparing the Workers of Today for the Jobs of Tomorrow (emphasis added):

Research suggests that the most valuable credentials are those in quantitatively-oriented fields or high-growth/high-need occupations such as health care. Similarly, evidence from Washington State suggests that displaced workers who attend a community college substantially increase their long-term earnings compared to those who do not. Again, the benefits are greatest for academic courses in math and science as well as courses related to the health professions and other technical fields. These findings point to a powerful role for community college education in helping displaced workers through the current economic downturn, particularly if they take classes in fields related to high-growth industries and occupations.

NDN could not agree more with the President and his economic team. Recently, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson introduced H.R. 2060, The Community College Technology Access Act of 2009, which is based on a paper written in 2007 by NDN Globalization Initiative Chair Dr. Robert Shapiro called Tapping the Resources of America’s Community Colleges: A Modest Proposal to Provide Universal Computer Training. The legislation offers free computer training to all Americans through the already existing infrastructure of the nation's approximately 1,200 community colleges.

The bill is faring quite well in the House, with cosponsorship from 41 members:

Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] - 6/9/2009
Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU] - 4/23/2009
Rep Castle, Michael N. [DE] - 4/27/2009
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 7/8/2009
Rep Costello, Jerry F. [IL-12] - 4/27/2009
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 6/25/2009
Rep Edwards, Donna F. [MD-4] - 4/23/2009
Rep Ehlers, Vernon J. [MI-3] - 4/23/2009
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 7/8/2009
Rep Grayson, Alan [FL-8] - 4/27/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 6/2/2009
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 6/11/2009
Rep Hare, Phil [IL-17] - 4/23/2009
Rep Himes, James A. [CT-4] - 4/23/2009
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] - 4/23/2009
Rep Kennedy, Patrick J. [RI-1] - 4/28/2009
Rep Kilpatrick, Carolyn C. [MI-13] - 4/23/2009
Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] - 6/2/2009
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 6/24/2009
Rep Markey, Betsy [CO-4] - 4/23/2009
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 4/23/2009
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 4/23/2009
Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7] - 6/8/2009
Rep Miller, Brad [NC-13] - 4/23/2009
Rep Murphy, Patrick J. [PA-8] - 4/23/2009
Rep Napolitano, Grace F. [CA-38] - 4/23/2009
Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] - 7/10/2009
Rep Pierluisi, Pedro R. [PR] - 6/2/2009
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] - 5/6/2009
Rep Price, David E. [NC-4] - 7/9/2009
Rep Reyes, Silvestre [TX-16] - 5/4/2009
Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] - 5/18/2009
Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4] - 4/23/2009
Rep Roybal-Allard, Lucille [CA-34] - 6/11/2009
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 7/8/2009
Rep Sablan, Gregorio [MP] - 4/23/2009
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [PA-13] - 6/4/2009
Rep Sestak, Joe [PA-7] - 4/23/2009
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 6/3/2009
Rep Smith, Adam [WA-9] - 4/23/2009
Rep Wu, David [OR-1] - 4/23/2009