Dozens of students, faculty, and staff members of Bevill State Community College gathered to view the first-ever Community College Summit held in Washington, D.C. on Tues., Oct. 5, 2010.
The historic event, moderated by Vice President Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, brought together community colleges, business, philanthropy, federal and state policy leaders, and students to discuss how community colleges can help meet the job training and education needs of the nation’s evolving workforce.
Bevill State officials made the Summit a participatory event by streaming the video feed at all BSCC locations. The feed allowed participants to watch the opening and closing sessions of the Summit live. Many faculty members brought their classes and held open discussions about the issues facing today’s community colleges and Bevill State.
With more than 8 million students enrolled each year across the nation, community colleges are the largest part of America’s higher education system. In a letter from Dr. Biden that was released by the White House prior to the Summit, she stated that the Community College Summit was “an important step in our efforts to meet the President’s goal of having the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world by the year 2020.”
Bevill State President Dr. Anne McNutt was in attendance among one of the groups watching the live feed. “This was such an important event for community colleges across the nation,” she said. “It is encouraging that our leaders are recognizing the importance of community colleges and the critical role we play in meeting the demands of an educated nation.
“In many areas, community colleges are the lifeblood of their communities by providing access to a very diverse student population,” Dr. McNutt added. “We serve students of all ages from the very young in our Kids College summer programs, to our students pursuing academic transfer and career training opportunities, to senior adults in our life-long learning educational programs.”
Dr. McNutt also stated that she was hopeful the Summit was the first step of many that would lead to an increased commitment to community colleges and funding for new initiatives and additional programs.