As a community college teacher for nearly 40 years, I have witnessed the inspiring life journeys of many students. Most do not come from privileged backgrounds. Many had to work, full-time or part-time, throughout their college years. Many of these students have also had to juggle family responsibilities and studies.
The aspirations of these community college students have varied. Some used their early years as a springboard for an eventual transfer to a four-year school. Others revamped their maturity, leaving behind aimless high school years to discover what hard work and focus could pay them back. Some had professional career ambitions; some wanted training for skilled technical jobs or upgrading their existing skills.
Community colleges are a place where small but profound miracles can and do happen – small only when considered individually, but with great impact on society collectively.
President Biden’s hope of creating free community colleges has not materialized. But our nation recognized their importance, as did our Congressman, Antonio Delgado. He joined Rep. Alma Adams in reintroducing legislation to strengthen the nation’s commitment to community college students with the Gateway to Careers Act. Delgado recognizes that students facing many external challenges have a better chance of succeeding in school when they have access to support systems such as child care, transportation and medical assistance. Additionally, colleges that receive grants under the act would provide career counseling services and build relationships with workforce partners to improve employment opportunities for students. The Gateway Act recognizes that the technical education segment of community colleges needs greater support. Thanks to Congressman Delgado and other officials for working to fill the gaps in our system.
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