The PJ Tatler

White House Points $8 Billion Toward Community College Project

On a day when the Obama administration released a $3.8 trillion spending plan themed on giving (spending) and taking (taxes on the wealthier) to receive (economic growth), the White House went full-throttle in promotion of its “Community College to Career” project.

The $8 billion plan aims to coordinate efforts between the departments of Education and Labor to train 2 million workers for jobs that already have openings: healthcare, manufacturing, green energy, information technology and more, according to White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz.

Munoz led a conference call with reporters this afternoon that included Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Duncan said the plan highlights a need to “make unprecedented investments” in education in order to “educate our way to a better economy.”

“These funds would give more community colleges the funds they desperately need to become community career centers,” he said.

Solis called any objection to the plan “short-sighted and wrong.”

“America’s future will only be as strong as the industries we create and grow,” she said, adding that the project is key to advancing President Obama’s goal of the U.S. having the “highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.”

Solis and Jill Biden will go on a bus tour of community colleges from Ohio to North Carolina Feb. 22-24 to promote the plan.

Obama gave his first remarks on the budget at a community college in Northern Virginia.

“An economy built to last demands that we keep doing everything we can to help students learn the skills that businesses are looking for,” Obama said. “It means we have to keep strengthening American manufacturing. It means we’ve got to keep investing in American energy. We’ve got to double down on the clean energy that’s creating jobs. But it also means we’ve got to renew the American values of fair play and shared responsibility.”

“The budget that we’re releasing today is a reflection of shared responsibility,” he added.

Administration officials echoed that mantra.

“This whole notion that we need to be a fair society… is really embodied in this budget,” Munoz said.