Aguilar Hosts Inland Empire Education Stakeholders at Community College and Higher Education Roundtable
Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar hosted a Community College and Higher Education Roundtable with members of the Inland Empire education community. Participants represented different areas of the Inland Empire education field, including community college officials, public school board members, education advocates and more. Today’s session was held at the Inland Empire Job Corps and is one of the latest events Rep. Aguilar has held focusing on improving access and affordability for higher education in the Inland Empire.
“In today’s world, many American workers need more than a high school degree to compete in our rapidly evolving economy. However, an education isn’t one-size-fits-all—four-year colleges may not work for all students, which is why the roles of community colleges and workforce training programs are so important,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “Addressing affordability and access to higher education in the Inland Empire are significant actions to help get our economy moving again and lift our region as a whole.”
Director of Alliance for Education and Rancho Cucamonga City Council Member Dr. Lynne Kennedy attended and said, “College affordability and access to post-secondary education are current challenges facing students across the nation in general and more specifically in the Inland Empire. As we address these challenges and look for avenues to maximize access and lower costs, we must include community colleges as well as colleges/universities as viable options. The educational roundtable, hosted by Rep. Aguilar, resulted in meaningful dialogue and generated ideas we can implement to make higher education and careers a reality for students and young adults.”
President of the San Bernardino Community College District, Former State Assemblyman and Former Mayor of Rialto John Longville commented, “I’m glad Rep. Aguilar convened this roundtable – community colleges play a critical role in the education system and can open up a world of opportunities for Inland Empire students of every age and income level.”
Lorena Corona, Manager of Government Relations at Chaffey Community College added, “It’s important that Inland Empire educators and education professionals be included in policy discussions like this. These are our kids that we’re talking about, so it’s necessary that San Bernardino County community members have a voice to provide feedback and critiques on how our local, state and federal leaders can work with us to improve our education system.”
Rep. Aguilar has been a strong advocate for investing in education, specifically for access to community college and workforce training opportunities. He cosponsored the America’s College Promise Act, which makes two years of community college free and also cosponsored the All-Year ACCESS Act, which restores full-year Pell Grants for full-time and part-time students. Rep. Aguilar has also held multiple college affordability events, including workshops for students struggling in the aftermath of for-profit college closures (such as Everest College) and an information session to connect students with federal student loan resources. Rep. Aguilar’s first bill—the On-the-Job Training Tax Credit Act—was modeled after the Inland Empire Job Corps and addresses the skills gap to help businesses pay for training new employees.