President Barack Obama called on Sunday for strengthening higher education so that the United States could lead the world in college degrees in a decade.
"In an economy where jobs requiring at least an associate's degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience, it's never been more essential to continue education and training after high school," Obama wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.
"That's why we've set a goal of leading the world in college degrees by 2020."
The president stressed the need to revamp community colleges, or local government-funded educational institutions used by Americans with modest means.
These colleges can work with local businesses to help workers learn the skills they need to fill the jobs of the future, he said.
"We can reallocate funding to help them modernize their facilities, increase the quality of online courses and ultimately meet the goal of graduating five million more Americans from community colleges by 2020," Obama said.
The president added that providing Americans with all the skills they need to compete was "a pillar of a stronger economic foundation," while rejecting claims that his 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus package was not working.
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was not expected to restore the economy to full health on its own but to provide the boost necessary to stop the free fall," the president wrote. "So far, it has done that."