President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Dr. Walter Bumphus, has congratulated the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) on its contributions over ten years in shaping young minds for future leadership.
"I couldn't help but being nothing short of amazed by the wonderful progress and the achievements you all have had in your ten years as a Council. I note the progress you have made on a number of initiatives, and I really salute you on this conference and the theme chosen," Dr. Bumphus said.
He was addressing participants at the official opening of the conference on Wednesday (January 4), at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay. Activities were carried out during the three days of the conference, (January 4 to 6), under the theme, “New realities, new challenges: a call for bold action".
Dr. Bumphus indicated that he believed in the over 100-year history of community colleges, and emphasized that the whole notion of access has been in the DNA of these institutions.
Speaking about the American system of community colleges, Dr. Bumphus noted that these colleges were the backbone of getting the diversity of America to become an educated workforce, a focus that they take much pride in.
"We have approximately 1,167 community colleges spread across the 50 states in America. In fact, there is a community college in every Congressional District, because we have a great deal of influence on diverse political issues. In my opinion, the agility of Community Colleges, and our ability to respond, makes us the unique institution that we are," he reported.
Dr. Bumphus observed that there was much focus, visibility and recognition of community colleges in the US, as President Barack Obama and his administration have made them the centrepiece of most of their legislation.
He expressed the hope that the Jamaican Council will examine the system in America, and seek to adopt aspects of the programme which may suit the Jamaican initiative.