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Boo Browning
League for Innovation in the Community College
4505 E. Chandler Blvd.
Suite 250
Phoenix, AZ 85048
Phone: 480/705-8200 x 227
Fax: 480/705-8201
E-mail: browning@league.org
Website: www.league.org

Kennedy Keynotes Innovations 2002: "You Are the Miracle Workers"

Boston, MA - March 18, 2002 - Senator Edward M. Kennedy took time away from St. Patrick's celebrations and a tumultuous political season to deliver a resounding message to the Innovations 2002 Conference: "It is wrong dead wrong for your budgets to be cut at a time when the nation's workers depend on training to move into the future."

Addressing the 1,800 community college professionals gathered at Boston's Marriott Copley Hotel, Kennedy applauded the enrollment of "over 10 million students each year" in community colleges and assured the audience, "You truly are America's classroom."

Kennedy was unflinching about the challenges confronting higher education. He pointed to the strides community colleges have made, particularly in the areas of access and diversity. But the "common battle," he said, is now the issue of funding. He emphasized the need for critical advances such as transportation and child-care costs, naming the Hope Scholarship as a model innovation.

"The real cost of attending college," Kennedy thundered, "should not be defined only by tuition costs."

The keynote address, made on the second full day of a conference buzzing with roundtables, special sessions, and forums, came before community college professionals from all 50 states and several foreign countries. The League for Innovation in the Community College sponsors the four-day Innovations conference each year to showcase the best programs and practices in community college education nationally and internationally. The League's Innovations 2002 host college was Bunker Hill Community College (MA).

Carol D'Amico, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, introduced Kennedy with opening remarks that sometimes prefigured the Senator's remarks. While D'Amico extolled the fact that community colleges are "very well positioned to offer options" to the expanding and diverse student body, she expressed an urgency about the challenge of what she referred to as "an achievement gap." D'Amico was particularly impassioned in her references to the No Child Left Behind bill recently signed by President Bush.

Both D'Amico and Kennedy emphasized the significance of the community college's role in higher education and workforce arenas. "Your innovation means better lives for millions of Americans," Kennedy told the assembly. "You are today's miracle workers."

The complete text of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's Innovations 2002 speech, as well as the introductory remarks made by Carol D'Amico, will be available soon in abstract form and on the League's website, www.league.org. The streaming video of the keynote is available at www.league.org/inn2002/index.htm.

About The League for Innovation in the Community College

The League for Innovation in the Community College is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. Nineteen CEOs from some of the most influential, resourceful, and dynamic community colleges and districts in the world comprise the League's board of directors, and more than 750 institutions from 10 different countries are members. In addition, the League partners with more than 100 leading corporations, and works with a host of other nonprofit foundations and government agencies. With this innovative core of directors, members, partners, and collaborators, the League hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities. For more information on the League's award-winning programs, publications, and services, visit www.league.org.