Prince George’s Community College President Sits on Biden Institute Panel Hosted by Former Vice President Joe Biden

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Article by: Tabresha B. Langham

For Immediate Release

LARGO, Md. (April 17, 2018) – Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) took part in a number of activities this April to celebrate Community College Awareness Month. Though not an official part of Community College Awareness Month, a panel on “Quality Jobs for American Workers” was a unique opportunity for PGCC President Dr. Charlene Dukes to join in dialogue with other industry leaders to advance the conversation about the value of community college. The panel was presented at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center by the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and moderated by former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Biden Institute Board focuses on three core pillars as the foundation of the U.S. economy. The first pillar, which was also the topic of discussion at the panel, is to make sure hard-working Americans have the skills and opportunities to obtain and retain work in a changing economy. The second is to make sure Americans are able to earn a good living and get ahead, and the third is to cut the costs of raising a family. The common theme throughout the discussion was that community colleges ensure that a greater number of people are equipped to obtain and retain good paying jobs in the era of automation and globalization.

Dr. Dukes was invited to speak on the panel and serve on the Biden Institute Board. The other board members and panelists included the United States Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, the Commonwealth of Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth Executive Director and Chief Economist Heather Boushey. Their diverse backgrounds in age, ethnicity, gender, occupation, and political views further demonstrate the need for conversations in higher education to be inclusive to representatives across the spectrum to reach a consensus on how the U.S. can progress economically.

Biden repeated that quality jobs for American workers are an important part of a thriving economy. He said that the jobs are there, but the U.S. must provide accessible and affordable education and training to Americans so they can fill these positions. The role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce is inherent. Community colleges are for everyone. Some students enroll to prepare for four-year colleges, some enroll to make mid-life career changes, and some enroll to receive additional training and certificates to advance in their careers. Community colleges are important for these and other students’ success because they are easily accessible and affordable, and help mitigate barriers that keep people on the sidelines of the economy.

Dr. Dukes discussed programs and partnerships at Prince George’s Community College that show the important role that community colleges have in developing and preparing the workforce, and alleviating barriers for its students. The Academy of Health Sciences gives “students the opportunity to pursue higher education early,” ultimately “changing the trajectory of their lives,” she said. The students who attend the college are guaranteed a 50 percent discount on tuition, and complete their programs with a high school diploma and an associate degree. The partnership with MGM National Harbor and other industry leaders demonstrate the college’s commitment to helping students “learn and earn” and participate in seamless paths to the workforce through “internships and externships” along the way.

Community colleges ensure that a greater number of people are equipped to obtain and retain good paying jobs whether it be high school graduates or veterans needing to transition back to civilian work. The diverse student populations that community colleges serve are one reason that they have such an impact on the nation’s economy and truly a reason Biden believes they are “America’s best kept secret.”

This April, as Community College Awareness Month is celebrated, this panel discussion and others like it will be important to the dialogue surrounding community colleges and how they continue to develop and sustain the U.S. workforce.

About Prince George’s Community College
Named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security (2015-2020), Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) provides high-quality education and training for the progressive and career-oriented residents of Prince George’s County. From new high school graduates and career seekers to more seasoned professionals and senior citizens looking to enhance their skillsets, PGCC is comprised of students who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and goals. Serving nearly 40,000 individuals annually, the college is the first choice for higher education for residents of Prince George’s County. Collaborative partnerships, responsive degree and training programs, and a commitment to student success enable PGCC to address diverse education and workforce development demands. For more information, visit the college website at www.pgcc.edu. Prince George’s Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; (267-284-5000);
www.msche.org. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

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