Vice President Biden visits DMACC

DMACC President Rob Denson and Vice President Joe Biden tour Building 3E on Thursday, Feb. 12

DMACC President Rob Denson and Vice President Joe Biden tour Building 3E on Thursday, Feb. 12

By Ndey Kumba Demba and Daniela Buvat de Virginy

Vice President Joe Biden held an invitation-only roundtable discussion centered on education accessibility and the importance of partnership between community colleges and businesses during his visit to DMACC Ankeny Campus on Thursday, Feb. 12.

The discussion, held in Building 3 East, consisted of members of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, representatives from manufacturers Vermeer and Accumold, and several DMACC staff and students.

Vice President Biden said the question of our generation is, “Can we restore the middle class?”

“Now is the time to focus on what we know will improve the middle class; the keystone is community college,” he said.

Vice President Biden said he and the president feel strongly that there should be fourteen years of education, and the answer is community college.

“We can move forward without undercutting education quality,” he said.

Biden spoke openly about the new plan, putting a strong emphasis on the importance of a college education being a necessity in today’s economy.

Mark Hanawalt, Iowa Association of Business and Industry board member, said there has been a shift in direction as far as the relation between community colleges and businesses.

“Before it was ‘give us what you’ve got.’ Now, businesses tell community colleges what they need,” Hanawalt said.

He went on to explain how much students would benefit from this opportunity, stating that community colleges are “the most flexible institutions in the country.” He also added that there is a need to know what jobs in the future would be and what would be “our needs.”

He said he is going to push the consortium of putting businesses and community colleges together.

His opinions on community college are backed by an eight-month study that President Obama requested he complete. He performed his study on what the future holds for jobs in America, and found that America needs to update its academic system.

Biden expressed that we must come to terms with the addition of two years of community college provided to American students in order to ensure a higher job placement rate for future generations to come.

But why did Biden choose to come to Des Moines, Iowa? Biden turned to DMACC President, Rob Denson and praised him for being in charge of such a “well-rounded institution.” With a pat on his back, Biden stated that DMACC is “doing better than any other community college in the entire nation right now.”

Michael Pleasant, a member of the roundtable, also spoke for the need to render support to community colleges, saying they “rely on community colleges to get the skills required.”

Valon Fleming, Tool and Die student, took a lot from the discussion.

“It was a pretty good discussion. He stated some important points, and I like the idea of a free two- year community college. “

“Every American needs hope, and every American deserves hope.” Biden made this the center of his speech, and assured the panel that he would be happy to return, if they would have him.

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