As part of the U.S. Department of Education's third annual back-to-school bus tour, on Friday, Sept. 21, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will hold a town hall discussion focusing on college and career readiness at Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) in Roanoke, Va. Also participating in the town hall will be Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, VWCC faculty, students, regional employers, and local community members.
In Roanoke, Secretary Duncan and his leadership team will be kicking off the final day of the back-to-school bus tour, culminating a journey that has crossed the country from Sept. 12-21 for a series of events highlighting the theme that Education Drives America. Besides Roanoke, some of the other stops have included Sacramento, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City; Denver; Topeka, Kan.; St. Louis; Kansas City, Mo.; Evansville, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Richmond, Va.
The highlight of the town hall at VWCC will be the release of the "Adult College Completion Toolkit," a collection of resources designed to connect state administrators and local practitioners to the strategies, resources, and technical assistance tools resulting from the Education Department's work in the area of adult education. The toolkit also includes information and resources for students, in supporting their transition to and completion of postsecondary education.
The toolkit focuses on three key areas: access, quality, and completion. The target student populations include veterans, adult learners, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, and immigrants.
Prior to the town hall, Dann-Messier and other senior Department of Education officials, including Adult Literacy Division Deputy Director Chris Coro and Senior Policy Advisor Sue Liu, will engage students in a VWCC student roundtable. The discussion will center on student experiences and supports that are crucial to helping students successfully transition to postsecondary education and careers. Students also will lead ED officials on a tour of the cutting-edge Mechatronics Lab at VWCC.
VWCC also is part of a nationwide consortium that recently was awarded approximately $12 million in grant funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative. TAACCCT provides community colleges with funds to expand their capacity to deliver quality education and training programs in growth sectors such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, and health care through partnerships with employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
For live, up-to-the-minute updates from the road, follow the Education Drives America tour on Twitter using the hashtag #edtour12, or visit the Department's bus tour blog. To receive media advisories, press releases, notifications about postings to the blog, and other special updates during the tour, subscribe to the Department's Education Drives America e-mail updates by clicking here.