Gubernatorial Candidates Address Community College Leadership

Several Maryland gubernatorial candidates were on hand Monday evening for the Maryland Association of Community Colleges’ (MACC)Gubernatorial Forum. Candidates were asked about the ways community colleges benefit Maryland and whether they would support and fund a Maryland Promise program, if elected.

From left to right: Jim Shea, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Ben Jealous, Alec Ross, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno, Krishanti Vignarajah (photo courtesy MACC)

Promise Programs are designed to address financial barriers for students who have the academic readiness and commitment to succeed in college, but lack all the necessary financial resources to do so, even if they qualify for federal financial aid.

According to a press release:

Candidates were unanimous in their support of community colleges and several shared stories of their own experiences as community college students or professors. There was less agreement among the candidates about how to make community college more affordable for students, but several did express support for a Maryland Promise program that would provide free tuition for eligible students.

Candidates in attendance were: Prince George’s County Executive, Rushern Baker; Ben Jealous, former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP; Baltimore County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz; Richard Madaleno, Maryland state senator from the 18th district; Alec Ross, former senior advisor in the Obama administration; Jim Shea, former chair of the Board of Regents at the University System of Maryland; and Krishanti Vignarajah, former senior adviser and policy director in the Obama administration.

“Rapid advancements in technology mean equally rapid changes in necessary workforce skills,” said Dr. Bernie Sadusky, MACC’s executive director. “Maryland needs more workers with today’s skills, otherwise we limit our businesses and economy. A Maryland Promise program would expand Maryland’s skilled workforce by making training at community colleges accessible to more students.”

Read the full press release for more information.