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Local Workforce Development Efforts Acknowledged at White House Summit on Community Colleges


(Huntsville, Alabama) – On October 5, 2010, Dr. Jill Biden will chair the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges in Washington, DC. As an acknowledgement of the contributions being made by the community and technical colleges of the Tennessee Valley, Dr. Helen McAlpine, president of Drake State Technical College, has been selected to participate in the summit. McAlpine joins an elite group of presidents and CEOs who were chosen through a process of consulting many community college stakeholders.

“I believe my selection for participation reflects positively on the impact our college has made towards the education and development of our region’s workforce,” says McAlpine. “We have an extraordinary number of leaders within our community who understand the relationship between workforce development and the educational resources provided by two year colleges like Drake State.”

The summit will bring together community college administrators, faculty, and students, business and philanthropic leaders, as well as federal and state policy leaders to highlight the critical role that community colleges play in developing America’s workforce. Additional participants include Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen; Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; William D. Green, Chairman and CEO of Accenture; and Ted Carey, President of the Student Association of Community Colleges.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to contribute to this monumental event which could potentially change the dynamics of the two year college system,” says McAlpine.

This event was announced by President Obama last March when he signed into law the overhaul of the federal student loan programs that will provide $2 billion to community colleges over the next four years. Community colleges are the largest part of America’s higher education system enrolling more than 8 million students each year. Last year, President Obama proposed the American Graduation Initiative to usher in a series of new innovations and reforms to expand and strengthen opportunities at America’s community colleges.

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