President Barack Obama’s speech at Lorain County Community College the work force marked his second visit to the campus since January of 2010. This time he spoke to an audience of only 250, but it was an opportunity not just for the president to talk about job creation, but also highlight the county’s community college.
Obama’s approximately 20-minute speech, broadcast live on whitehouse.gov, followed a roundtable discussion with out-of-work LCCC students and comments by the college's president, Dr. Roy Church. One student told the story of his struggle after he lost his job. Obama asked, “Should we settle for an economy where only a few are doing well,” or where everyone “gets their fair share.”
The president said prospective employees could “learn skills at community colleges like this one.”
“In this economy, prosperity doesn’t trickle down, prosperity grows from the bottom up,” Obama said. “It makes the entire region stronger economically.”
David Kos, the only Avon Lake city official to attend the speech, said the venue made sense in light of Obama’s comments. He was also pleased that Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis joined the president at the college.
“I really liked that the president had the Secretary of Labor with him,” Kos said. “She spoke specifically to the plights of the labor workers and that the jobs are coming back. LCCC is a perfect example of some of those successes. (The college) is a perfect setting for some of the messages for what the president is putting out there."
Obama noted that 90 percent of LCCC graduates are placed into jobs within months of graduation.
Avon Lake lawyer the Chairman of the LCCC Board of Trustees, attended the speech with Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter.
Brusnahan said Obama’s speech emphasized the role community colleges play--and need to play--in work force development.
“It’s a constant struggle to have folks understand (community colleges) are not all about liberal arts," Brusnahan said. "It’s also hands-on experience and apprenticeships.
“That’s the vision necessary to lead this region into the next century.”
Hunter said Obama’s message was right on target.
“It is about jobs,” Hunter said “His program is working. We need to stop some of the roadblocks in DC to move the job focus to the head.”