Massachusetts Community College Trustees visit Washington, D.C.
(2/17/17) More than 25 community college trustees from Massachusetts joined their colleagues from across the country in Washington, D.C. this week for the annual Community College National Legislative Summit. Each year, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) co-hosts this event with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) for trustees and presidents from community colleges across the nation. Trustees from the Commonwealth participated in meetings and workshops related to advocacy for Pell Grants, workforce development initiatives, and the protection of vulnerable students on college campuses. At the conference, trustees heard from several high-profile keynote speakers, political commentators, and elected officials. Chuck Todd, journalist and current host of NBC’s Meet the Press, provided commentary on the Trump Administration and the “new era of politics.” Attendees also heard from newly-confirmed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who used the opportunity to deliver her first policy speech under her tenure to community college trustees and officials. In her remarks, she underlined the vital role of community colleges in connecting students to careers by being “nimble, inclusive, and entrepreneurial.”
The Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office (MCCEO) complemented the Summit’s programs with meetings and events with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation. A meeting with Congressman Joe Kennedy (MA - 4) focused on STEM education and the crucial need for the Reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Act. There also was a separate meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren, where trustees and presidents discussed the importance of the Pell Grant, primarily focusing on reinstating the Year-Round Pell Grant. Finally, MCCEO hosted a reception on Capitol Hill for Massachusetts trustees to greet the other Members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation. Representatives Michael Capuano, Katherine Clark, Jim McGovern, Richard Neal, and Senator Ed Markey all made remarks underscoring the importance of the community college system. These gatherings provided trustees with an opportunity to have a dialogue with their elected officials on the importance of the community college system as well as discussing how federal support is essential to the advancement and excellence of the community colleges in the Commonwealth.