HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- President Bush's visit to Central Pennsylvania today has encouraged the leaders of the 14 community colleges across Pennsylvania. Speaking to more than 900 attendees during a rally at Central Dauphin High School in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, the President discussed the "fabulous community college system in America and the great community college here." Praising the work the community college system is doing, President Bush stated that "community colleges must be flexible enough to have a curriculum that actually meets the needs of the local community ... in other words, you don't need to be training people for jobs that don't exist." The President's plan to infuse $250 million into training partnerships between community colleges and businesses was first announced during his State of the Union Address on January 20, 2004. Jobs for the 21st Century is a comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by strengthening post-secondary education and job training and improving high school education. The President's plan will expand opportunities for workers to access post-secondary education in order to get the job training and skills to compete in a changing and dynamic economy and to fill jobs in emerging industries. "The 14 community colleges in Pennsylvania are thrilled that President Bush has chosen our state in which to address his proposal," stated Diane Bosak, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. "The President's outline of his plan to foster a new generation of job training partnerships between community colleges and high-demand industries embraces the central focus of community colleges and our essential role in helping workers gain needed skills." As a member of the panel during the President's visit, Dr. Edna Baehre, President of Harrisburg Area Community College welcomed the President and noted that "it was an honor not only to be able to share the things that Harrisburg Area Community College does but also what our 13 sister community colleges in Pennsylvania [are doing]." Dr. Baehre expounded on the work that HACC is doing to partner with Pinnacle Health Systems in its Allied Health Academy. "The beauty of the project is that it increases the graduation rate of the students, increases academic excellence and they have jobs when they come out," Baehre said. Relating a testimony from a corporate leader whose company worked with HACC in developing a unique arrangement without which they would not have been able to expand their training in this sluggish economy, Baehre noted that the corporation has given HACC equipment so that "we can deliver state-of-the-art training to their employees in exchange for getting a reduction in their training costs." Baehre closed by welcoming the President's "support for community colleges in industry partnerships. We appreciated it very much and look forward to it." The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to represent the interests of the 14 community colleges of Pennsylvania. For more information on the Commission and its programs, please visit its website at www.pacommunitycolleges.org or call 717.232.7584.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges