President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus today to talk about the American Family Plan, a proposed initiative to help working families.
The plan would create four additional years of free public education and make preschool free for all 3- and 4-year-olds. In addition, the plan would cover at least two years of community college for all students.
“Every child has the capacity to learn,” President Biden said. “We are going to add two years of community college for everyone. For some that will mean earning the credits necessary to transfer to a four-year university. Others will prepare for a career.”
President Biden also talked about increasing Pell grant funding to help break down barriers for students including the cost of transportation and childcare.
TCC President Marcia Conston met with President Biden before he spoke to Virginia legislators, TCC board members and staff.
“This is a great day for TCC,” President Conston said. “I absolutely support this initiative because it’s good for our students and our community. Providing free community college education to everyone is a game-changer and will allow students to prepare for high demand careers without incurring any college debt.”
TCC student Jaidan Williams introduced the president and thanked him for helping students like her and schools like TCC.
“TCC has equipped me to become a well-rounded professional and student,” Williams said. “My time at TCC included volunteer opportunities, internships and professional development. As a STEM Promise Scholar, I received a full scholarship, completely easing the financial burden of school.”
Williams is graduating this month with an Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security. She currently works as a civilian employee for the U.S. Coast Guard but has set her sights on a cyber career.
During their visit to TCC, the Bidens toured a heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) laboratory and watched a demonstration led by HVAC Professor and Program Head Harlan Krepcik.
Three TCC students worked with Krepcik to connect and measure electrical current through a series of parallel circuits.
“We need skilled technicians and the challenge we face is that the public views the trades as a last choice,” Krepcik said. “Many students would do well coming to community college and getting the hands-on training necessary to enter the skilled trades.”
First Lady Jill Biden, a Northern Virginia Community College English faculty member, has been teaching for more than three decades.
Speaking of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the First Lady added, “Our schools accept everyone, and we offer classes that are flexible. We train students for real-world jobs and provide a strong foundation to those who want to transfer to a four-year school.”