This week, the Biden-Harris Administration convened state leaders to discuss efforts to expand free community college programs across the country and prepare their workforce for good jobs. State leaders shared how lowering costs for community college students has increased enrollment rates and access to postsecondary education. Several state leaders highlighted how they have used funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as a key source for building and expanding community college promise programs.

Officials from the Domestic Policy Council and Office of the First Lady spoke to the Administration’s commitment to expanding access to free community college. Community colleges are the nation’s largest provider of workforce training, and the Administration has centered community colleges in federal efforts to prepare workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. This includes both the President’s $90 billion proposal in his budget to expand free community college nationwide, which would save eligible students an estimated $4,500 or more per year, and the Classroom to Career proposal, which would provide high school students access to 12 free career-related community college credits through dual enrollment.

State participants included:

  1. Joe Marro, Senior Policy Advisor to Maine Governor Janet Mills
  2. Karen Spilka, Massachusetts Senate President
  3. Michelle Richard, Acting Director of the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential
  4. Stephanie Rodriguez, New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education
  5. Shannon Gilkey, Rhode Island Postsecondary Commissioner

Administration participants included:

  1. Mala Adiga, Deputy Assistant to the President and Policy Director for the First Lady
  2. Robert Gordon, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility, Domestic Policy Council


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