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Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Touts the High Value of Career Schools in Commencement Address at Virginia College of Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Feb. 22, 2011 Virginia College Jesse L. Jackson

Sunday, February 20 Virginia College Birmingham Birmingham

"This graduation today is cause for another family celebration, enhanced by the fact that 150 of you have already been placed in jobs," Rev. Jackson told the graduates, their friends and relatives, and the school’s staff and faculty. "Put your hands together. That’s a big deal. These jobs range from culinary and pastry arts to medical assistance, business administration, master’s degrees, accounting specialists and cosmetology…The range of skills for which you have developed is coming into a growing market."

Tuskegee Booker Washington

Tom Moore Education Corporation of America Virginia College

Further, Moore expressed his appreciation for Rev. Jackson’s strong support for career colleges as they seek to amend or stop a series of regulatory changes proposed by the U.S. Department of Education that would make it difficult for some for-profit educational institutions to continue operating.

In his address, Rev. Jackson noted that his mother attended an alternative school to learn a trade when he was a child.  "My mom went back to school after 10 years of my birth to become a beautician," he said. "She just wouldn’t – she just wouldn’t give up."

Rev. Jackson also recalled the economic struggles that other members of his family overcame, some with the help of alternative education. He said one aunt had five children before she was 20 years old, but had a dream of a college education for herself and her children.  She worked at a Veterans Hospital at night and sent all five children to college.  At age 53, he said she got her GED, earned a community college associate degree four years later, and then proceeded to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Proudly pointing out her accomplishments, Rev. Jackson told the graduates it’s about "learning to use what you got – some beautician, some chef, some computer specialist, using what you got.  And don’t cry about what you do not have."

Martin Luther King, Jr.


"Today, beyond this college experience, you must fight for an even playing field, public rules and clear goals to make this a better state and a better nation."


Don Keith  


Virginia College Birmingham

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