Julián Castro calls for ‘tuition-free’ public colleges, apprenticeships

Julián Castro calls for ‘tuition-free’ public colleges, apprenticeships
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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro on Wednesday called for “tuition free” public colleges, apprenticeships and other certification programs as a way to make the U.S. workforce more competitive.

Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, had initially called for more “accessible and affordable” higher education when he announced his candidacy, but went a step further at a New Hampshire event on Wednesday.

Tuition-free public colleges and universities is a progressive policy that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Poll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points GE employees urge company to use laid-off workers to make ventilators MORE (I-Vt.) pushed for in his 2016 presidential campaign.

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"We need to ensure, if we want to be competitive, that every single American who wants a higher education can get one,” Castro said at a Politics & Eggs event at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

“That’s why I believe that we need to work toward a tuition-free system of public university, college, apprenticeship and certification programs in this country to have the smartest, most well-prepared work force that we can in this 21st century,” he said.

During his presidential announcement speech last weekend, Castro said he supported a “Medicare for all” single-payer health care system and universal prekindergarten. At Wednesday’s event, Castro touted his work as San Antonio mayor when voters in 2012 approved “Pre-K for SA," which was covered by a sales tax increase.

“We need to make sure every single student gets off to a strong start in life, and if I’m elected president, I’m going to make pre-K for the USA happen in this country because it’s right for our students,” Castro said Wednesday in New Hampshire.

Since announcing his intention to seek the presidency, Castro made his first trip as a candidate to Puerto Rico, skipping over more traditional visits to early nominating states like Iowa.

Castro is among a quickly growing field of White House contenders including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories Seth Meyers returning to late-night TV with 'hybrid episodes' Biden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll MORE (D-Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandLawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Progressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (D-N.Y.). Other possible candidates still weighing a bid include Sanders and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response MORE.