“…but I hope the idea sticks, because more veterans, from Iraq and Afghanistan this time, as well as another generation of mothers, single parents and workers who have been out of the job market, need lower obstacles between now and the next chapter of their lives.”
I came out of high school utterly and completely adrift. I took courses in a bit of everything at Mesa Community College and San Diego City College. Great teachers for a great price. Those courses shaped me. Why just the other day I used my Drafting skills to draw up plans based on our kitchen for a contractor. I think about Professor Pidgeon at Mesa who inspired in Philosophy.
Many years later in life I took inspirational Java and C++ courses from Larry Forman at City College. The knowledge gained and programming habits learned remain a layer of bedrock for my programming life. (10 years ago! here and here)
I think of how my world view was expanded. I was a kid, really, but took classes alongside people younger than me (16 if I remember) to people in their 50s. That shaped me as much as the learning itself, maybe.
So, I agree with Tom Hanks. By all means, PLEASE use my tax dollars to give people a chance to improve themselves. The job world is changing. Education is the thing to help people change with it.