DEARBORN — U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Henry Ford College’s (HFC) COVID-19 vaccine clinic to promote the vaccine and the American Families Plan.
The clinic was arranged in partnership with Rite-Aid as a part of the COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge.
One student who was getting his vaccine told Cardona that he chose to get the vaccine at the college because he knows the campus and it helped him feel more comfortable.
“This is an example of where we feel like if people know where they’re going, there’s a level of trust,” he said. “There are some confidence issues obviously, as we have seen and heard, throughout the country, so when we have colleges that accept the challenge and are willing to do it on their campus, it makes you feel a little bit more comfortable. This is an example of where we talk a lot about how we are going to address confidence, because there are some folks that don’t feel comfortable or they’re not ready or they experience a lot of trauma, there’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot of anxiety.”
HFC President Russell Kavalhuna said that they were honored to have Cardona at the college.
“It’s a pleasure to have the secretary of education visit us at Henry Ford College for two reasons,” he said. “First, we really see ourselves as the national model for helping students move from high school to higher education and onto four-year degrees, or real meaningful careers. We also see ourselves as a national model to help these free college programs where they give access to the most deserving citizens move into a college culture. We have the most students in the Detroit Promise Program and we are looking forward to helping programs within our state, like Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners and the American Families Plan, where we can help lift citizens up, like my parents did, through community college.”
The American Families Plan is a $1.8 trillion investment intended to help provide at least four years of free public education, close equity gaps, make college more affordable, provide universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, free community college and other post-secondary education investments, provide education and preparation for teachers, provide direct support to children and families, provide child care, paid leave, nutrition, unemployment insurance reform, tax cuts and tax reform.
“We talk a lot about how we are all in this together,” Cardona said. “We put out a COVID vaccination challenge to colleges and we said, ‘let’s hope it sticks, let’s hope it’s a good idea, let’s hope we see good partnerships.’ And I’m so pleased to be here today to see that action. Over 350 colleges across the country, I think, actually, all in Michigan, but what I saw just now is hope in action. I just spoke to a gentleman who said he can’t wait to get back to fishing with his family and get back to church and he got his shot here because he’s a student here. He knows this campus, he felt safe here and that’s why he got his shot. I love the partnership there and just what this college represents.”
Cardona said that HFC is an example for what the Department of Education wants to see across the country.
“This college has so many examples of what we want to see across the country and I’m so pleased to be here to see how they take the dual enrollment program to another level, where we have high schoolers getting their associate’s degree while they’re getting their high school diploma,” he said. “There’s such a connection between PreK-12 and higher education. The potential in this country is great. The American Families Plan not only provides for community college, but an increase in PELL for our students who are struggling to get the basics covered. When we talk about programs, it’s nice to see it in action. It’s nice to see the potential it holds for this country.”