I hope all of you are having a great spring term.
Just felt the urge to write a blog post after coming across a compelling and very timely story that recently aired on National Public Radio. The story reiterates a commonly held belief these days – that community colleges are the natural solution for quickly providing Americans with the skills they need to improve our workforce, which spurs economic growth and quality job creation. Obviously, we desperately need all of the above in New Mexico.
The rub is that training the workforce of today isn’t cheap. As a Board representative for a community college in Iowa says in the NPR story, “The concerning thing is that training the workforce is very expensive. We can’t afford to train someone to be a welder on a welding machine that was donated to us 10 years ago. And the cost of training those workers is so much higher. We actually lose money on every single student we train.”
Plenty of studies have shown that community colleges are woefully underfunded. And with persistently challenging economic conditions, there are no signs that the state or federal governments are going to significantly increase community college funding in the foreseeable future.
So how should we adapt to help our state and our country? Could we generate new revenue streams? Could we develop new partnership prototypes with private industry that would lead to more funding?
I encourage all of our faculty and staff to read the transcript of this NPR story and let me know what you think. Please post your thoughts and let’s have a conversation.