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The U.S. Department of Education this month will begin holding a series of regional community college summits around the country as follow-up to the White House Community College Summit last fall.
The four summits will be held between February and April in Philadelphia, Houston, Indianapolis and San Diego. The last meeting in April will be a virtual symposium that will present findings on issues discussed at the regional summits.
"These regional summits are an opportunity to build partnerships that strengthen our community colleges, turn challenges into actions and produce the best-educated and most-competitive workforce in the world," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.
The White House summit in October was “just the beginning” of the conversation regarding community colleges role in workforce development and student success, especially in reaching President Barack Obama’s goal of an additional 5 million Americans earning a college credential by 2020, according to the department.
“While the department recognizes the role that the federal government plays in higher education, we also know that states and institutions will be central to meeting the president’s 2020 goal,” the department said in a memo about the summits.
The one-day summits will each bring together about 150 representatives from community colleges, business and industry, philanthropy, labor, state and local government, and students. The summits will mirror the format of the White House summit, which included breakout sessions on selected topics.
In addition, each site will have a more-detailed focus on one of the following areas:
Following a morning plenary, three “completion partners panels” will focus on support for community colleges offered through federal agencies, business and industry, and foundations. In the afternoon, participants will hear from a panel of community college presidents whose colleges do exceptional work in the topic areas.
The summits will be telecast, and a summary of the proceedings will be posted on the department’s website.
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