George R. Boggs, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Community Colleges, spoke of college completion rates at the first event of the Pathways First Year Experience Program’s guest speaker series on Sept. 15 at the Vosloh Forum. Boggs is also the former president of Palomar.
According to Boggs, many students are choosing community colleges for reasons like finances and access. “Community colleges accept 100 percent of their students,” said Boggs as he explained the advantages of starting higher education at a community college. Other advantages included community responsiveness and clear focus on a student learning environment such as the Pathways or ESL programs at PCC.
Boggs attended a White House summit in October 2010 with Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill. One goal discussed at the summit involved raising the completion rate of students to 15 percent nationwide. This would be accomplished by setting up Pathway programs for incoming freshman, providing partnerships with businesses connected to community colleges and providing services for people returning from military leave.
Community colleges now have programs to help students, Boggs said. “The Skills For America” campaign has come up with a $2 billion grant program to help community colleges train students and workers in programs that result in skills, degrees and industry recognized credentials that are relevant to highly skilled industries such as manufacturing.
“I never knew our college had so many programs of which we could take advantage,” said Karen Garcia, political science major.
Jesse Valasco, undeclared, said that he was glad to hear that community colleges aren’t a waste, and that programs like Pathways encouraged him to complete his education.
Boggs opened his lecture with a community college graduate success story. Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona was not a high school graduate. He returned from serving in the Vietnam War and attended Bronx Community College where he earned his associate of arts degree in nursing, and furthered his education with a medical degree from the University of San Francisco.
The PCC Pathways First Year Speaker series was introduced by a select number of teachers and staff.
PCC will host its second speaker of the series on Oct. 14 at 11:30 a.m. in Harbeson Hall. Luis J. Rodriguez, an activist, journalist and author of “Always Running,” will be speaking.
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