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GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: Obama Hosts Education Roundtable with Nation’s Business Leaders

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“A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs, but whether America can outcompete countries around the world.”
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On July 18, President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes met with top executives from the nation’s leading businesses to discuss what the business community can do to ensure that the United States has a skilled, educated, and competitive workforce.

Attendees at the education roundtable included General Colin and Mrs. Alma Powell of the America’s Promise AllianceEdward B. Rust Jr., chairman and CEO of State FarmCraig Barrett, former president and CEO of IntelWilliam Green, president and CEO of Accenture; and Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. (A complete list of attendees is available at http://1.usa.gov/pBTxnE).

“A world-class education is the single most important factor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs, but whether America can outcompete countries around the world,” Obama said, regarding the meeting. “America’s business leaders understand that when it comes to education, we need to up our game. That’s why we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child.”

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In the video to the right, recorded after he returned from the education roundtable, Wise says he hopes the meeting “will turn up the heat” on education reform based on the general agreement coming from the meeting that the business community needs to be even more of an advocate for education reform at the federal, state, and local levels.

A number of philanthropic announcements were made to coincide with the meeting. For example, the America’s Promise Alliance announced that it will raise $50 million as part of its Grad Nation Community Impact Fund to support the goal of ending the dropout crisis and preparing young people for college and a career. Additionally, Bank of America made a $50 million pledge to education over the next three years to support programs that bridge the achievement gap to postsecondary education completion and connect the underserved and unemployed to workforce success in high-growth sectors, in particular through community colleges.

More information on the meeting, including the complete list of philanthropic announcements, is available at http://1.usa.gov/pcOy7Q.

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