A White House Community College Initiative and An OVAE Assistant Secretary?

On June 17, during the Democratic Leadership Conference  policy forum, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced that in the next few weeks the President would be making a major announcement on community colleges. He said there will be a “rewriting of all legislation related to job training and vocational education, but most importantly in the area of community colleges.”  This appears to be a follow up to the statement made by the President on May 8. Emanuel said that “a lot of people, when we talk about education, talk about universities. What has been forgotten is how important the community-college system is to our economy, our ability to compete in a global economy. It is literally the conveyor belt to allow people to upgrade their skills when they are going from X job to Y career.” Emanuel inferred that a new infusion of resources to community colleges was likely to be part of the announcement. The Workforce Investment Act reauthorization is pending and seems to be the likely vehicle to carry forward this sort of legislative change.

Today, at a meeting of education stakeholders , U.S. Department of Education officials tasked with higher education responsibilities were asked about this proposal and responded that they are not familiar with the specifics of the President’s proposal.

A rumor making its way around town is that the announcement of the OVAE Assistant Secretary is imminent.  While no names have been released, the rumor mills has bets on someone who has an adult education background.

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