Secretary Cardona visits River Valley Community College
Emphasizes support for rural regions
CLAREMONT, NH — During a visit Friday to River Valley Community College in Claremont, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stressed the need to elevate learning pathways and level the playing field for rural communities.
“We are focused very, very heavily on reimagining pathways, doubling down on pathways, evolving high schools and college and industry partners. I feel strongly that if we are going to reach our potential as a country, we have to connect our youngsters to pathways – whether it is programs like the amazing ones I just saw now, or programs of emerging fields – and then for our workforce partners and our industry partners. We have to blur the lines,” Cardona said during a roundtable discussion with Commissioner Frank Edelblut, River Valley Community College President Alfred Williams, health care partners and students.
Cardona’s visit to Claremont comes just days after President Joe Biden announced more than $5 billion in new investments in rural America. Cardona and Edelblut toured classrooms at River Valley Community College where students studying respiratory therapy and radiology shared their educational experiences.
“I want our students to graduate with options, and some of those options might be credentials or credits into programs like the ones you offer here – I want that to be the norm in high school, not the exception” explained Cardona.
Edelblut highlighted New Hampshire’s Work as Learning program, an initiative aimed to provide students with authentic work experiences and hands-on learning opportunities while they are still in high school.
“Our industry partners in New Hampshire have been incredible. We have over 400 companies in the State of New Hampshire who have signed up to offer high school students some type of internship or career exploration,” said Edelblut. “By doing that, our students get the opportunity to connect to real-world learning experiences and they can have a vision for what they want to study, as well as a better education trajectory.”
New Hampshire recognizes that learning is not isolated to school classrooms, said Edelblut, adding students are fully engaged when they are exposed to professions that excite and interest them.
Williams emphasized how important their workforce partners are to the student experience. “Our workforce partners provide internships, clinicals and other opportunities that translate directly to employment after graduation. These partnerships keep our graduates local and in New Hampshire,” explained Williams.
River Valley Community College, previously named New Hampshire Vocational Institute at Claremont, opened in 1968 and currently enrolls about 900 students each year.