MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Imagine the surprise of opening an email that’s an invitation to meet with President Obama.
A North Minneapolis businessman didn’t know if it was real or not. But after a little checking, Timothy Childs found out that Gov. Mark Dayton had mentioned him to the president. Now he’s on his way to Washington, D.C. to dine and discuss issues at the White House.
“I’m very excited. I feel like we’re the luckiest family in Minnesota,” said Childs, a scientist who owns a high-tech semiconductor business in North Minneapolis.
He also runs an education foundation that provides tutoring and scholarships to students here in the Twin Cities.
“We target those students who have been working while they go to school,” said Childs, “who may be involved in the community, who may not have top of the line grades, but they have good work ethic.”
Childs met Dayton at an economic summit last month. And Dayton was so impressed, he put in a good word at the White House.
“We’re serious about the students and the students achieving,” said Childs. “We’ve been able to work with students who sometimes were on the lower end of the grade to being honor roll students.”
Childs feels the most important thing for the future is combining education with technology.
“The world is moving forward. We’ve got a global economy,” said Childs.
Childs will talk to Obama about the economic and academic “gap” here in Minnesota. The fact that the rate of four-year graduation for black high school students is half the rate of whites. And 36 percent of the blacks in Minnesota live in poverty — that’s the fifth highest in the nation.
But he wants to laugh a bit about their college days, too.
“I know he’s a Harvard guy and I’m a Stanford guy, so we’ll probably have a few little jokes along that line,” said Childs.
Childs is expected to have dinner in the White House on Friday night. He’s only allowed to bring one guest — so that will be his wife. But they’re bringing along four of their children for the “Washington experience.”
Joan Gilbertson, Producer