Protect community and technical colleges for Minnesota’s sake

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As a new academic semester approaches, students prepare for a return to campus. Some of them are non-traditional students enrolling in the state’s community and technical colleges, which provide valuable training to further employment opportunities.

“Our community and technical colleges are an important resource for the long-term recovery of our local economies,” reported the Duluth News Tribune.

How so?  Community and technical colleges are especially valuable and set apart from traditional colleges because they offer fresh high school graduates who are not quite ready for a full 4-year college commitment an alternative track that is still geared toward academic achievement.

At the same time, these institutions also serve older individuals with practical 2-year academic or skilled training options.

In the current economic climate where employment is hard to come by, degrees in higher education become more and more important for the next job.  Community and technical colleges offer a practical, lower-cost alternative for many to gain necessary credentials.

Yet, Minnesota leaders continue cutting funding for this valuable asset.  As we head into the 2011-12 legislative session, we must protect and preserve our community and technical colleges.  Our state cannot afford more funding cuts to these institutions.  The spillover effects of a lesser educated workforce can only hurt us in the long run.