Obama proposes publicly funded community college for all

President Barack Obama steps from Marine One before boarding Air Force One, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to Tennessee where he will discuss new initiatives to help more Americans go to college and get the skills they need to succeed and his administration's efforts to create new, good paying manufacturing jobs. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WAVY) — President Barack Obama says his plan for two years of free community college for any American will help train the workforce and improve U.S. competitiveness with other countries.

The White House says the program will cost the federal government about $60 billion over 10 years. Details on how Obama proposes to pay for it are to be released next month.

States that want to participate in the program will have to chip in, too.

Obama modeled his program after one started in Tennessee by the state’s Republican governor. But Obama is getting a cool reception from a Republican-controlled Congress uninterested in big new spending programs.

Obama announced the initiative at a community college in Tennessee.

He’ll also promote it in his upcoming State of the Union address.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the America’s College Promise proposal:

I applaud the President for his bold proposals to make two years of community college free to responsible students and to fund technical training programs that focus on work-based learning opportunities. In Virginia alone, community and technical colleges play an integral role in preparing thousands of students each year for high-demand, high-wage technical careers. It is critical that students have the opportunity to acquire the education and skills that will help them find a good job and live productive, successful lives.

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