When it comes to community and vocational schools, Obama sees them as essential to providing local students with the skills they need and intends to reward community colleges that increase their graduates and transfers to four-year colleges. McCain focuses on retraining workers.
Read more about how the two candidates intend to support community schools and how they want to implement vocational training in Part 3 of Mason Votes’ series on college affordability.
“We need to have education and training programs for displaced workers that work, going to our community colleges,” stated McCain in the Oct. 15 debate.
McCain’s focus on more vocational training was also seen in his support of the GEAR UP and TRIO programs, two programs that give government support to job-specific training.
A 2006 amendment to the congressional budget proposed by Senator Kennedy sought to cut the GEAR UP and TRIO vocational education programs and other job training programs. The amendment sought to move funding into student aid programs like the Pell Grant. Kennedy stated that these job training programs created $6.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes and that cutting the programs would “support college access and job training.”
The senate split down the middle. Obama voted with 49 of his colleagues to cut the programs. McCain also voted with 49 others, to stop the amendment. Failing to gain a majority, it didn’t pass.
Obama has proposed a program that would give grants to community colleges that “partner with local industries to analyze the skills and technical education needed by students and local industry.” He also would reward institutions for increases in student graduation and transfers to four-year colleges.
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