Prince George’s Community College was recognized by the White House once again last week as President Barack Obama visited the school to give a speech on energy.
“It’s great to be back in Maryland,” he said. “It’s great to be here at Prince George’s Community College.”
Obama is no stranger to giving speeches in Prince George’s County. During his run for election he visited the school and two years ago, he was a keynote speaker at a political rally for Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Barbara Mikulski at Bowie State years ago.
This is also the second time recently that the school was recognized by the White House. PGCC President Charlene Dukes was named a “champion for change” by the White House for meeting the Obama’s challenge to increase the number of college graduates in America.
Dukes, was among the state’s community college leaders to commit to increasing the number of associate degrees awarded to 18,600 by 2025.
On March 15 though, Obama had a different message. The president highlighted PGCC’s commitment to providing energy efficient homes in Prince George’s County.
Now, I just finished learning about some of the work that you’re doing here at this community college to make sure that homes are using less energy, and helping folks save money on their heating and their air-conditioning bills,” Obama said.“ And I was very impressed. I’m even more impressed because I know this program is giving a lot of people a chance to make a decent living -- everyone from veterans to folks with disabilities to folks who’ve just been down on their luck but want to work.“
The program he’s speaking of is the school’s energy conservation program. Courses offered in this program helps people begin careers as home energy auditors and weatherization workers.
The energy conservation program is under the schools green jobs initiative where it is educating, training and providing job opportunities to county residents in fields such as urban agriculture, bayscaping and tree care.
It also provides business owners training in making their facilities greener.
Obama said that PGCC’s commitment to going green and conserving energy is important given that this country’s energy crisis. However, he said it’s also crucial to the future success of Maryland as people will need 21st century skills for 21st century jobs.
“The skills that you gain here at this community college will be the surest path to success in this economy,” Obama said.
“And community colleges all across the country and all across Maryland are doing an outstanding job providing young people that first opportunity after high school but also helping older workers retrain for the jobs of the future because the economy is constantly adapting,” he continued.
Seeing how it is an election year, Obama couldn’t pass as chance to take a shot at his Republican rivals.
“And every time prices start to go up, especially in an election year, politicians dust off their three-point plans for $2.00 gas. I guess this year they decided, we're going to make it $2.50,” he said referring to Newt Gingrich. “I don't know where -- why not $2.40? Why not $2.10? But they tell the same story. They head down to the gas station… and then they start acting like we've got a magic wand and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect us.”