Secretary Duncan to Travel to Wisconsin and Iowa to Highlight Federal Initiatives in Higher Education, Elevating the Teaching Profession, Community Partnerships, Workforce Training, and Career and Technical Education

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will travel to Wisconsin and Iowa Wednesday and Thursday, April 18-19, for a series of events to discuss federal initiatives that support keeping college affordable, elevating the teaching profession, fostering community partnerships in education, as well as training and retraining youth and adult students to enter the workforce through effective career and technical education programs.

On Wednesday morning, Duncan will head to Madison, Wis. where he will host a college affordability town hall with students at East High School followed by a question-and-answer session. The town hall is part of a series of conversations hosted by the Department to engage students and community leaders across the country in building awareness around the importance of shared responsibility and driving down college costs.

In the afternoon, Duncan will join U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Platteville, Wis. to host a White House Rural Council event with agriculture teachers from across Wisconsin to discuss the RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching) project. RESPECT is an Administration proposed initiative to make teaching America’s most important and respected profession. The Secretaries will discuss how important agriculture educators are to the nation’s economy and future, the need to provide better support for current teachers, and how to inspire the next generation to teach. This event will be live streamed at, and viewers can participate in question-and-answer via Twitter, hashtag #ruraled.

Following the White House Rural Council event, Duncan will travel to Dubuque, Iowa where he will join the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, the Department's director for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, to hold a “Together for Tomorrow” town hall on the value of community partnerships in helping to propel school improvement. Together for Tomorrow is an initiative that spotlights and fosters partnerships among schools, families, national service programs, and community-based organizations in order to help turn around low-performing schools. Wednesday's Town Hall will launch the initiative public challenge at

On Thursday morning, Duncan will travel to Waterloo where he will be joined by Vilsack, Jay Williams, executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers at the U.S. Department of Labor, and local students, faculty, and business leaders, to host a White House Rural Council workforce training roundtable discussion. The discussion will focus on improving rural economies by training and retraining workers for in-demand careers.

On Thursday afternoon, Duncan will join the Department’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier for a town hall with students and business leaders to discuss the future of career and technical education. Following remarks, President of Des Moines Area Community College Rob Denson, Accumold Vice President of Production Grace Swanson, and Principal of Ankeny High School Brenda Colby, will join Duncan and Dann-Messier on stage for a question-and-answer session with the audience.