September 21, 2009

Obama calls community colleges key to economic recovery

Source: NYSUT News Wire
Caption: President Barack Obama highlights the role of community colleges in revitalizing the American economy during a visit to Hudson Valley Community College. Photo by Steve Jacobs.

President Obama praised the role of community colleges in the country's economic recovery and singled out Hudson Valley Community College's degrees in green technology during a visit to the campus Monday that highlighted programs overseen by NYSUT members.

The president spoke before an invitation-only audience that included NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi and several members of the Department Chairpersons Association of Hudson Valley CC, a NYSUT affiliate.

Community colleges, Obama said, have "the power to prepare students for 21st century jobs, and to prepare American for a global technology."

"That's what's happening right here at Hudson Valley Community College," Obama told about 400 students, faculty and dignitaries in a building that houses a program in automotive technology. "We're here because this is a place where anyone with the desire to take their career to a new level has that opportunity."

Obama used the visit to outline his administration's pledge to give a boost to entrepreneurial local high tech firms through tax credits and business incentives. Several such firms have partnered with HVCC in degree and certificate programs that train students in chip technology and renewable energy.

Iannuzzi said the president's message about college/business partnerships ties in closely with the administration's focus on renewable energy, affordable education and affordable health care.

"We all need to understand that without reform in those areas, this kind of work can't succeed on its own," Iannuzzi said.

Hudson Valley Community College students await the president's arrival.
HVCC students await the president's arrival. Photo by Steve Jacobs.