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Washington, D.C. –In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) recognized Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College for its distinguished ranking as the 14th best community college in the Nation. He also distinguished the unwavering leadership of the school’s president, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, who is also serving the public as West Virginia's First Lady.

Full text of the speech is available below.  

Mr. President, I rise today to recognize two pillars of West Virginia--an educational institution that is educating the people of our State for good-paying jobs they are going to need and a beloved figure who put our State at the forefront of advances in mental health.

First, please allow me to recognize Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College for its distinguished ranking as the 14th best community college in the Nation because of all the work its staff and students have done together to develop the skills necessary to compete in the workplace.

All of us in my great State know about Southern's dedication to active and collaborative learning, and we are so proud that Washington Monthly recognized the school's achievements in its most recent rankings.

This accomplishment is not the work of any one person, but a shared commitment to excellence from the school's leadership, faculty, staff, and students. I applaud everyone who is involved at Southern for their focus on improving educational quality through strengthened student engagement and student success.

In addition, I am so pleased that Southern is thriving under the steadfast leadership of President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, who is also serving the public as West Virginia's First Lady. For more than 12 years, Joanne has been the visionary and the driving force behind many of these accomplishments. Her unwavering enthusiasm and tireless dedication transcend geographical barriers to bring extraordinary educational opportunities to all of southern West Virginia.

I tell young people all the time that they cannot sit on the sidelines and watch life happen. They have to get in the game and start making the calls. The same goes for those students who are returning to school for training or who are taking the initiative to take their careers to the next level.

Southern helps all students--those who are just starting out and those who are in the middle of their careers--build critical skills and get an education to become a workforce that will meet our needs in the 21st century and beyond. Every day, these students and their teachers are doing the hard work that will make our great State and country competitive by finding new ways to create good jobs and rebuild our economy.

Again, I am so proud of this accomplishment at Southern, and it is just one example of what we can achieve when we all work together.

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