(WTVO) – Check back on this page for the latest pool reports from First Lady Jill Biden’s trip to the Stateline on April 19, 2021.
FLOTUS came to the conference room to apologize to pool for the hold up and take a few quick questions.
She said she was excited by Sauk Valley’s efforts to make community college free, and its funding model of relying partially on corporate grants. “I’ve been working on making community college free for so many years,” she said.
“I always love when I can go to a community college,” she said. “I guess you have to be on that wavelength.”
FLOTUS and Secretary Cardona boarded the plane at 3:35 central. Flight time to JBA is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Wheels up shortly.
Pool arrived at Chicago-Rockford Airport at 2:48 after an uneventful ride. Several onlookers filmed the passing motorcade as we drove through Dixon, Illinois, but no political signs were visible.
Pool is holding at a conference room at the airport while FLOTUS fulfills a virtual speaking commitment for Northern Virginia Community College.
|3:13 P.M. |
Here are key excerpts from FLOTUS’ prepared remarks at Sauk Valley Community College, courtesy of her office.
Community colleges meet students where they are and help them become the people they want to be.
Most people now call me First Lady, but to one group of students at Northern Virginia Community College, I am—first, foremost, and forever—their writing professor, Dr. B.
In my class, my students don’t take anything for granted. Some are there for a head start on a four-year degree—others for a much-needed fresh start.
So, I don’t get too many late papers or missed exams—though there are always exceptions.
A few semesters ago, I got a text that said, quote, “on my way to the hospital to have my baby; research paper will be late.”
To which I replied, “Excuses, excuses.”
Now, this woman served as an interpreter for our military in Afghanistan. She was starting a new life here in America for herself and her family. And in the midst labor, she was worried about getting her paper in on time.
She’s a special example, but her commitment isn’t unique.
Veterans, single parents, first generation students, refugees—my students come from every walk of life. They show up. They don’t complain. And they only ask for one thing in return: the chance to work hard and build a good life for themselves and their families.
And that’s exactly what community colleges give them. Our schools accept everyone—regardless of age, race, income, or family legacy.
They offer classes that are flexible, so students don’t have to choose between work and school.
They train for real-world jobs, tailored to the communities they serve—or give students a strong foundation for a four-year degree.
And they don’t just improve individuals’ lives—they strengthen our country as a whole.
Because without educated and trained workers, businesses can’t build. Innovation is held back, and our economy drags. We can’t afford to exclude so many from continuing their education just because they come from certain areas or income brackets.
That’s why we launched College Promise back in 2015—an effort to make two years of community college free for hard-working students.
I’ve had the privilege of being a part of this movement for six years now. And what I’ve seen has been incredible.
In big states and small towns, from rural Tennessee to urban California, we saw communities come together to create programs that serve the needs of their areas. We partnered with hundreds of local businesses, nonprofits, and schools. And leaders from both sides of the aisle worked to create opportunities.
In fact, my partner, Martha Kanter, is with us today, still working to keep our momentum going.
Republicans, Democrats, Independents—College Promise is a place where all Americans can come together and find common ground.
Sauk knows how powerful affordable, accessible college can be—that’s why you’ve invested in students like Abril.
She told my team that, in high school, she thought her college dream was out of reach.
But with support from this school, she’s now on track to become a nurse in a time when we need more health care professionals, especially in rural areas like this one. Sauk changed her life.
And soon even more students will be able to take advantage of this incredible community, thanks to the launch of your own College Promise program.
All Americans deserve the same opportunity to pursue their passions… get a great education… and build a career they love.
Because, I’ve seen the ripple effect of education.
Families with good-paying jobs can invest in local schools and shops. Businesses can grow their operations.
More jobs and higher salaries mean towns and cities have more resources to offer and become better places to live. That strengthens state economies.
What starts in one community college classroom can create a chain effect that is eventually felt by every single American.
My husband, our President, understands this.
He understands that if we want our communities to thrive… if we want our businesses to have the skilled workers they need… if we want to prepare our economy for the future…there is no greater investment we can make than in education.
And now, six years after we launched College Promise, he’s ready for big ideas and bold action—so that all Americans can go to community college, have the support they need to finish, and get good jobs.
Together, we will get this done. Community colleges are our future.
FLOTUS left SVCC and walked to her SUV at 1:52. Motorcade departed shortly thereafter, en route to Chicago-Rockford International Airport.
FLOTUS and Secretary Cardona discussed the importance of community colleges to the economy in remarks before a socially-distanced crowd of about 30 in Sauk Valley Community College’s gymnasium Cardona opened by discussing what the administration has done to help colleges and universities since coming into office, noting the American Rescue Plan includes $40 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, the infrastructure proposal could help build and rebuild college facilities and the administration’s “skinny budget” would increase the size of the maximum pell grant by $400. “Education is the best economic driver,” Cardona said, later adding a reference to the First Lady: “It helps to have a teacher in the White House.” Abril Vasquez-Tapia, a nursing and arts student who is a first-generation high school graduate, introduced the first lady. FLOTUS spoke for roughly 10 minutes, discussing her experiences as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, the virtues of the nation’s community college system and extolling a program at Sauk Valley Community College that offers tuition breaks to students who complete community service while they’re in high school. “We are reimagining our education system from pre-school to College,” Biden said, adding later: “We can’t continue to exclude some people from continuing their education just because they’re from the wrong income bracket.” An audio recording and extremely rough transcript of Cardona, Vasquez-Tapia and FLOTUS is here: >https://otter.ai/u/24oC5ljenvZWiwms4tgKHefsh7k< Earlier, FLOTUS, Pritzker, Bustos and Cardona, visited two labs at Sauk Valley Community College, talking with students and professors at both. In the first, the Multicraft lab — which trains students in a mix of mechanical engineering and electrical knowledge to prepare them for manufacturing jobs — they discussed the need for the program to adapt continuously to what local employers want. They also demonstrated the college’s robotic welder for FLOTUS + the other dignitaries. At the second, the nursing lab, they discussed how the coronavirus pandemic forced the program to adapt. FLOTUS led a quick round of applause for two students who were graduating and were practicing on mannequin patients. One of the students was a 64-year-old who had returned to school to finish her nursing degree. Pool was loaded into vans and is holding.
Dr. Biden finished delivering remarks, citing the importance of community colleges “meeting students where they are.” The First Lady praised Gov. Pritzker and other Illinois leaders for “leading families through the pandemic.”
FLOTUS spoke for roughly 10 minutes, discussing her experiences as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, the virtues of the nation’s community college system, and extolling a program at Sauk Valley Community College that offers tuition breaks to students who complete community service while they’re in high school.
“We are reimagining our education system from pre-school to College,” Biden said, adding later: “We can’t continue to exclude some people from continuing their education just because they’re from the wrong income bracket.”
Executive One Foxtrot landed at Quad Cities International Airport at 10:53 central time. Weather here is chilly and wet, with spitting rain.
Take off from JBA was 9:59 am EST. Flight was uneventful.
Dr. Biden, accompanied by Secretary Cardona, deplaned at 11:06 central. On the tarmac at Quad Cities, FLOTUS and Cardona greeted Iowa State Rep. Ross Wilburn, who is also the chair of that state’s Democratic Party; Nick Salazar, the state director of the Iowa branch of the League of Latin American Citizens; Bill Gluba, the former mayor of Davenport, Iowa; and Teri Goodman and her granddaughters Freya and Violet.
FLOTUS is wearing a pink jacket and white dress.
Pool is loaded into vans and rolling at 11:10.
Dr. Biden’s motorcade arrived at JBA at 9:40after an uneventful ride.
FLOTUS boarded the plane at 9:44.
The expected flight time of the trip from JBA is to Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Illinois is 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Here are the staff traveling with FLOTUS and Secretary Cardona, per her office. Sheila Nix was also formerly Dr. Biden’s chief of staff in the Obama administration.
Anthony Bernal, Senior Advisor
Julissa Reynoso, Chief of Staff
Sheila Nix, Chief of Staff to Secretary Cardona
Mala Adiga, Director of Policy & Projects
Michael LaRosa, Press Secretary
Jordan Montoya, Trip Director & Director of Advance
Cameron Smith, Photographer
Jonathan Hebert, Videographer
Executive One Foxtrot is wheels up shortly.
Dr. Jill Biden is traveling to Dixon, Illinois with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to visit Sauk Valley Community College.
Pool has been COVID-tested and loaded into vans. Motorcade departed the White House, en route to Joint Base Andrews, at 9:22 a.m. Pool did not see FLOTUS before our departure.