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Second lady brings education message to RACC

Published On: Apr 18 2012 04:53:41 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 19 2012 05:58:08 AM EDT

Reading played host to the second lady of the United States.


Reading played host to the second lady of the United States.

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, has been an advocate for education, community colleges in particular. On Wednesday, Biden brought her message to Reading Area Community College.

"I've seen what happens in community college classrooms and it's extraordinary," said Biden, who has been an educator for more than three decades. "We have finally recognized that not only can community colleges change lives, they can change America."


Both Biden and U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter were part of a panel discussion highlighting the school's industry partnerships.

One program Kanter especially liked, she said, is RACC's high school to community college partnership.

"They're taking college credits that they're ready for, so they're graduating from high school and they're getting a certificate that industry wants," said Kanter.

Both women explained how RACC and other community colleges help people get a first and second chance.

Leonard Mays, a former RACC student, is a good example. He was laid off three years ago at age 53, so he went to RACC for additional training.

"I landed a really good job. It was actually better than the job I had before," said Mays.

RACC has formed partnerships to train students and sometimes even help pay for the courses.

RACC is a prime example of President Obama's proposed $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, said Biden.

Its purpose is to develop new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs.

"Quite simply, these schools are absolutely critical to America's future," said Biden.

Aside from her second lady duties, Biden is still a full-time English professor at a community college in Virginia.