First Lady Stops by Campus during North Carolina Visit

First Lady Jill Biden and the U.S. Department of Education's Amy Loyd pose for a group photo with PCC's Natasha Worthington and President Lawrence Rouse.


WINTERVILLE—First Lady Jill Biden visited Pitt Community College Monday to promote her husband’s new “Classroom to Career” proposal, which aims to give “every (high school) student in America” a chance to take community college courses through dual enrollment.

President Joe Biden, who is running for re-election this year, announced the “Classroom to Career” initiative in March. Following her PCC visit, Jill Biden toured Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC), where she explained the program “reimagines high school education” by giving young people a pathway to careers through earlier job training exposure and making college more affordable via a head-start on a two- or four-year degree.

An English instructor at Northern Virginia Community College, Biden noted that career-connected learning – programs that bridge the gap between the classroom and workforce – is neither a “Democrat (nor) Republican idea.” Instead, she said it is “an American idea, championed by leaders from all sides of the political spectrum.”

“Dual enrollment is not a new idea; many states offer it in some form,” Biden said during a roundtable discussion at GTCC with state and local leaders, educators and students. “What is new is that President Biden’s entire administration is committed to making it a reality for all students through unprecedented collaboration and historic investments.”

Biden said North Carolina has been a leader in providing high school students opportunities for dual enrollment and “transforming high school into a place that prepares students for jobs.” During her remarks at GTCC, she referenced some of the dually-enrolled students she met at PCC earlier in the day.

“I just visited Pitt Community College. I met incredible high school students in their college classrooms: one was getting his associate degree — training to repair cars — and another showed us how she’s learning to detect impurities in medications in her biotechnology class,” Biden said. “These are the skills that are needed for their future careers, and they’re getting them in high school.”

Biden said “Classroom to Career” is focused on the “60 percent of high school students” who do not go directly to four-year colleges and universities after receiving diplomas.

“As a community college professor, I teach students who are part of that 60 percent,” she said. “And I see every day how they are still struggling to figure out their next steps, still searching for an answer to that persistent question. Because for most people, a high school diploma alone isn’t enough to find a great career. But that doesn’t mean there’s only one path to success.”

After touching down at Pitt-Greenville Airport just after 12 p.m. on Monday, Biden and Amy Loyd, the U.S. Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, headed to PCC’s Walter & Marie Williams Building. There, they met with President Lawrence Rouse and Natasha Worthington, Pitt’s Director of High School Programs, to tour science labs and hear from Biotechnology Program Director Christy Weeks and Science Instructor Ben Trimpi about the college’s efforts to prepare students for jobs in pharmaceutical manufacturing and other life sciences fields.

Biden’s PCC visit also featured a stop in the Craig M. Goess Construction & Industrial Technology (CIT) Building, where she was greeted by Automotive Systems Technology students and instructors and CIT Dean Patrick Jacques.

This week’s visit was Biden’s second to the PCC campus. Her first came in 2020, when she campaigned for her husband outside of the Ed & Joan Warren Building in his bid for the presidency.