After attending the 2013 State of the Union address, JJC student trustee Keith Bryant described his experience as “incredible.”
Bryant attended the historic event as the guest of Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, who said that Bryant’s story serves as an important reminder of the need to invest in education and in training to equip workers with the skills needed to succeed in today’s economy.
Bryant, 42, is attending JJC to study network system security, a new career path he began pursuing in 2011 after years in the construction field.
“I was just honored to be chosen as Congressman Foster’s special guest,” Bryant said.
Bryant sat and listened to the president’s speech in the upper balcony of the House chambers, just eight seats away from First Lady Michelle Obama.
But while he enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience of attending the president’s annual address, Bryant stressed that his main focus during his time in Washington D.C. is representing the students of JJC.
“I’m here to be a voice for the student body of JJC, and that is my priority,” he said.
Bryant is in the nation’s capital to participate in the Community College National Legislative Summit, a conference for community college trustees, presidents, students and advocates to discuss and lobby for legislative and policy issues relating to community colleges. He will spend his time attending conference sessions and meeting with Illinois legislators including Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Dan Lipinski and Congressman Bill Foster.
One of the key issues Bryant is concerned about is the possibility of Congress cutting college funding sources such as Pell grants and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
“These funding sources are critical for a lot of students at JJC, as they were for me. I plan to stress the importance of keeping both of these programs to the legislators I meet,” he said.