Jill Biden promotes community colleges during Illinois visit

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DIXON, Ill. (AP) — First Lady Jill Biden on Monday used her first visit to Illinois since taking residence in the White House to visit a community college and tout their importance to the nation’s economy.

The first lady made remarks to a socially-distanced audience of about 30 people at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon.

Biden discussed her experiences as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College and the virtues of the community college system. She also praised a Sauk Valley program that offers tuition breaks to students who complete community service while they’re in high school.

“We are reimagining our education system from pre-school to college,” Biden said. “We can’t continue to exclude some people from continuing their education just because they’re from the wrong income bracket.”

Biden was joined at the college, which has an enrollment of about 1,270 students, by U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

During his remarks, Cardona noted the American Rescue Plan includes $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. He also pointed out the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal could help build and rebuild college facilities.

Biden, Cardona and Pritzker toured two college laboratories, one of which trains students in a mix of mechanical engineering and electrical knowledge to prepare them for manufacturing jobs. They also observed a demonstration of the college’s robotic welder.

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