Raleigh, NC Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) is uplifting Wake Tech President, Dr. Scott Ralls, as her virtual guest to President Biden’s Joint Address to Congress on Wednesday, April 28th. Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, millions of vaccines are being administrated, state and local governments are receiving the funds they need, and nearly $40 billion went toward the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to help both four-year institutions and community colleges like Wake Tech. The President’s proposed American Jobs Plan also includes $12 billion to upgrade the physical and technological infrastructure of America’s community colleges.    

The Joint Address, which is President Biden’s first speech to a Joint Session of Congress, marks 100 days into the President’s first term. In the past, Members of Congress have often invited constituents to join them as guests to such speeches. While COVID-19 safety protocols mean this year’s in-person attendance will be limited, Ross said inviting Dr. Ralls as her virtual guest is an important way to honor the people of North Carolina’s 2nd District.

“The pandemic presented us with unprecedented challenges, and leaders like Dr. Ralls responded by taking unprecedented action to support their communities.” said Congresswoman Ross. “By donating PPE to local hospitals and helping to alleviate his students’ financial burdens during the pandemic, Dr. Ralls demonstrated extraordinary leadership at a time of great need here in North Carolina. Dr. Ralls exemplifies the heroism that is helping us all through this pandemic, and I am thrilled to have him as my virtual guest at the Presidential Address.

“Wake Tech and other community colleges across the country play a critical role in helping our people pursue their dreams and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. Unfortunately, the high cost of this education remains a barrier for too many talented North Carolinians. That’s why I’m urging President Biden to use his address to Congress to reiterate his support for free community college. This policy will boost our local economy and unlock the doors of opportunity for all of our people.” 

“We at Wake Tech have been privileged this year to be our ‘community’s college’ during a year of such great challenge in our community, said Dr. Ralls, Wake Tech President. “I have been inspired this year by the resilience and discipline of our Wake Tech students, and by the innovation and dedication of my Wake Tech colleagues, and I look forward to virtually attending the Presidential Address in recognition of their great work”

According to Wake Tech, at the start of the pandemic, Dr. Ralls and Wake Tech collected all of its existing Personal Protective Equipment from programs, donating 74,000 gloves, 3,000 masks, hundreds of bottles of sanitizer and our only ventilator to our local hospitals. Wake Tech also reached out with an outbound calling campaign to check in on each of its students and revamped delivery of vital tutoring services. In the Fall, the college waived fees to give students a financial break, and as of last week, has distributed emergency financial aid to over 12,000 students at an average award amount of $700, provided $125 grocery gift cards to over 4,300 students, and distributed over 1,200 free student laptops. Dr. Ralls testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee last week. The full testimony can be found here.