President Barack Obama reiterated the importance of his free community college plan -- a plan which Congress has practically ignored -- during a speech at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, Wednesday night.
"It's an idea whose time has come," Obama told the nearly 1,000 person crowd. "It's an idea that makes sense."
Under Obama’s estimated $60 billion plan, American College Promise, two free years of community college would be given to students who maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The federal government would cover three-quarters of the program’s cost with the states covering the rest.
Obama emphasized the importance of education in a country’s future.
"Education has always been the secret sauce, the secret to America's success," Obama said.
Obama announced an Independent College Promise Advisory Board, which will be led by Vice President Joe Biden’s wife Jill, a community college professor, and former Wyoming Republican Gov. Jim Geringer. The board will highlight existing programs that provide free community college and try to get more states and communities to do the same.
“For every young person willing to work hard, I want community college to be as free and universal as high school,” Obama said. “It's easy for politicians to say young people are the future. But you've got to walk the walk.
“No kid should be priced out of a college education. No hardworking young person should be denied just because of where they started.
“You don't have to necessarily go to a four-year degree to get a good job, but you need to have some specialized skills.”
At this time, there are six states and communities that have created similar programs to American College Promise, Yahoo News reports. The newest, announced on Wednesday, is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"It's important that you give your friends, your families, your classmates, a heads-up to join the movement to make two years of community college free because education is the key to America's future," Jill Biden said before introducing Obama at Macomb.
Obama also announced that $175 million in Labor Department grants to help create 34,000 apprenticeship slots around the country will be made available. The awards will go to 46 organizations, institutions, and businesses pledging to train workers in health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and more.
Photo Source: SF Gate, WikiCommons