DANBURY, Conn. – Daisy Cocco De Filippis, president of Naugatuck Valley Community College with campuses in Danbury and Waterbury, will be the guest of honor for U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
De Filippis was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and became a U.S. citizen after moving to the United States when she was 13 years old. De Filippis is the first Dominican-born president of a community college in the United States.
“I am honored to have been invited to be Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty’s guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address,” said De Filippis. “Community colleges are quintessentially American democratic engines of change because we provide life-transforming opportunities for some of our most vulnerable citizens. I am particularly grateful for the recognition given to the important work of community colleges in Connecticut and in the United States.”
As Congress heads into the new year, Esty and De Filippis will call attention to the important role community colleges play in providing high quality education and technical training programs to prepare students for jobs in high-demand sectors, without forcing students to take on years of student loan debt. Esty has made improving worker training and technical education a priority as part of her innovation agenda in the 114th Congress.
“I’m honored to have Dr. De Filippis join me at the State of the Union address this year,” said Esty. “With rising student debt and an increasingly older workforce, our 21st century economy demands rethinking how we prepare students and retrain workers. Dr. De Filippis has been a leading voice in our state, advocating for access to affordable education for all students.”
Esty and De Filippis are showing support for a proposal by Obama to make the first two years of community college free for students. Obama’s proposal would provide funding for the first two years of community college for students who receive a 2.5 GPA or higher.
Esty represents Danbury and much of northwestern Connecticut in Congress.
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