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President Biden Visits McHenry County College to Promote American Families Plan, Show Support for Community Colleges

The President of the United States visited McHenry County College (MCC) Wednesday to highlight the benefits of the new American Families Plan and show his support for community colleges across the nation.

The Plan, which is designed to deliver support to working families across the country, would provide universal, high quality preschool to all three- and four- year-olds and provide Americans with two years of free community college.
MCC’s President, Dr. Clint Gabbard, shared appreciation for President Biden’s support of community colleges and the importance that education has for our future economy.

“We’re extremely honored that President Biden chose our college for a visit,” said Dr. Gabbard. “MCC is at the epicenter of community college innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to community transformation through education. We are the only community college in Illinois to show positive enrollment growth in each of the past five years. Our faculty and staff have used the disruption of the pandemic to go through their own disruptive processes—becoming more responsive to students’ needs and making a greater impact in their lives. This is the place where dreams are being actualized, one student at a time.”

In his remarks, Biden explained the many benefits additional education would create in today’s America.

“One of the reasons we’re one of the leading countries in the world is because we were the first industrialized nation to allow 12 years of free education back at the turn of the 20th century—but now everybody’s caught up. That’s why I want to guarantee an additional four years of education for every person in America,” Biden said.

The American Families Plan will also focus on making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students by increasing Pell Grant award amounts and will invest in improving teacher training and support.

According to a White House Fact Sheet, over the last 40 years, the United States has seen the most growth in jobs requiring higher levels of job preparation, including education and training. Today, 70 percent of jobs are held by people with more than a high school degree.

“American workers need and deserve additional support to build their skills, increase their earnings, remain competitive, and share in the benefits of the new economy,” the Fact Sheet continues. “President Biden’s plan will expand access to affordable postsecondary education, laying the groundwork for innovation and inclusive economic growth for all Americans.”

The President visited the college for several hours, touring the metals lab and meeting with students connected to MCC’s child care center and manufacturing programs.

Before making his remarks in the Gymnasium, President Biden was introduced by Dr. Gabbard and MCC Student Trustee, Edith Sanchez. Sanchez is a second year student at MCC, president of the Latinos Unidos club, and a first-generation Latina who plans to pursue a career as a college advisor.   

“Attending MCC has transformed my life,” Sanchez said in her remarks. “I thought my dream of college would be impossible—but with the support I’ve received through MCC, local scholarships, and federal student aid, I can pursue my education and focus on the importance of learning. In my future career, I want to inspire, encourage, and motivate students by guiding them with my personal experience and provide them with the resources and support they need to pursue a higher education.”

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Rev. Jesse Jackson were also in attendance.   

“I was so proud to welcome President Joe Biden to the 14th District and McHenry County College—an institution that is leading the nation through their work to create brighter futures for Illinois families,” added Rep. Underwood.

“With the leadership of Dr. Clint Gabbard and so many talented Illinois educators, MCC is demonstrating how investing in early education, community college, and apprenticeship programs improves lives for children and their families.”

"President Biden’s focus on students and their families is completely in line with our focus here at McHenry County College,” added Dr. Gabbard. “We are grateful for the visit, and happy to provide a setting for the President’s first visit that will reflect our Mission of student success.”