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Secretary Cardona and Rep. Bonamici Tour Bilingual Summer Enrichment Program, Meet with Community College Students and Leaders

July 15, 2021
Press Release

BEAVERTON, OR [7/15/21] – This week Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in Oregon to discuss their efforts to provide students with pathways to affordable higher education, including two years of free community college.

The Secretary and Congresswoman also saw how historic investments in education from the American Rescue Plan are expanding summer programs like the bilingual summer enrichment program in Hillsboro.

You can download photos from the Hillsboro summer program and community college roundtable discussion HERE.

“What I heard here in Oregon is how the community colleges served as a safety net. The phrase I use is, they were trauma informed in their approach to supporting their students. So it wasn't just tuition needs, it was understanding their fees and other issues that they had that prevented them from going to school. The schools took care of those. They worked with the students. For me, this was a great example of how we want schools across the country to act when we have students that are in need,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We were able to hear heavily from students and college leaders on the importance of building back better and what it really means. I'm excited about the opportunities to create pathways from high school to college to the workforce to four year schools.”

“It was an honor to host Secretary Cardona and introduce him to amazing students and educators in NW Oregon,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We visited Hillsboro School District’s bilingual summer program, which provides education tailored to students’ needs and helps address unfinished learning. The program expanded significantly this year with resources I advocated for in the American Rescue Plan. We also met with student teachers from the Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program, which is increasing teacher diversity to reflect the students in the district.

“As a community college graduate myself, I was pleased to host a roundtable with students and presidents of local community colleges. We heard stories from students about the power of education to improve their lives, but also discussed how cost is often a barrier. The American Families Plan would help millions of students access two years of community college for free, which is a good investment in our students and our economy. I look forward to working with Secretary Cardona and President Biden to make sure students and educators have the support they need to recover from the pandemic and build a better future.”

Secretary Cardona was sworn in as the 12th Secretary of Education on March 2nd, 2021. He previously served as the Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, where he faced the unprecedented challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and led the safe school reopening efforts in Connecticut. He began his career as an elementary teacher and has two decades of experience as a public school educator.

Bonamici worked her way through college in Eugene, first at Lane Community College and then at the University of Oregon, where she earned her bachelor's degree and law degree. As a leader on the Education and Labor Committee she is focused on making college more affordable and providing opportunities for workers with in-demand skills to enter the workforce. As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, she is a leader for equity in education.