When it comes to community and vocational schools, Obama sees
them as essential to providing local students with the skills
they need and intends to reward community colleges that
increase their graduates and transfers to four-year colleges.
McCain focuses on retraining workers.
Read more about how the two candidates intend to support
community schools and how they want to implement vocational
training in Part 3 of Mason Votes’ series on college
“We need to have education and training programs for displaced
workers that work, going to our community colleges,” stated
McCain in the Oct. 15 debate.
McCain’s focus on more vocational training was also seen in his
support of the GEAR UP and TRIO programs, two programs that
give government support to job-specific training.
A 2006 amendment to the congressional budget proposed by
Senator Kennedy sought to cut the GEAR UP and TRIO vocational
education programs and other job training programs. The
amendment sought to move funding into student aid programs like
the Pell Grant. Kennedy stated that these job training programs
created $6.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes and that
cutting the programs would “support college access and job
The senate split down the middle. Obama voted with 49 of his
colleagues to cut the programs. McCain also voted with 49
others, to stop the amendment. Failing to gain a majority, it
Obama has proposed a program that would give grants to
community colleges that “partner with local industries to
analyze the skills and technical education needed by students
and local industry.” He also would reward institutions for
increases in student graduation and transfers to four-year