SCRANTON — President Barack Obama’s two-day trek through New York and Pennsylvania that ends Friday in Scranton will promote affordable education and job growth.
According to a release issued Tuesday by the White House, the president and Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks “laying out a plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families.”
The event, scheduled for 4:55 p.m. Friday inside the Lackawanna Student Union Gymnasium, 500 Vine St., is a continuation of his “Better Bargain” theme he initiated with stops in Illinois and Missouri last month.
“I’m pleased that the president and vice president will be in Northeastern Pennsylvania and specifically at Lackawanna College to discuss the need to focus on job creation and economic growth,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who like Biden is a Scranton native. “Lackawanna College is a great example of an institution that gives graduates the skills they need to compete for good paying jobs.”
Lackawanna College President Mark Volk said the appearance is one he and others are looking forward to. He added that using Lackawanna College as a focal point on the national talk about the ties between education and the economy is a valid example.
“President Obama has spoken on many occasions about the increased importance of two-year colleges in meeting our country’s needs for the future. And, we know that the cost of education is of critical interest to the president and to us all. As an exceptionally cost-effective college with high quality programs and a proven track record of success, Lackawanna represents ‘the New American Model for Higher Education,’ ” Volk said.
The joint appearance, as far as Casey can recall, is the first one for the pair in Pennsylvania since they were elected.
“This is quite the rare event,” Casey, a Democrat, said. “Most communities don’t get this kind of opportunity.”
Casey said he received a call about two weeks ago from Biden, who said the president was going to be traveling through New York and Northeastern Pennsylvania and was looking for a venue in this region that was a community college in an urban setting. Casey suggested Lackawanna College.
Obama will start his four-city speaking tour Thursday when he will deliver remarks at the University at Buffalo and then Henninger High School in Syracuse, N.Y. On Friday, the president will participate in a town hall event at Binghamton University before heading south to Scranton. Biden is not expected to join Obama at any of the New York stops.
The Scranton stop will take place in the Lackawanna Student Union Gymnasium, which Casey said he reminded Biden was the Catholic Youth Center when Biden was a boy.
Casey will be at the event, though it’s unclear if he’ll have a speaking role. He said he hopes the president makes a clear correlation between the importance of an education and employment.
“It’s not just a talking point or a speech,” Casey said. “It’s essential for job growth and economy strength.”