It didn’t take long for the community college advocates to offer their view. This piece is by the communitycollegeyes.com spokesman.
By ART SWIFT
The new school will be the first comprehensive community college in the Treasure Valley. It will also use an existing campus, so there won’t be new construction needed. The school will be located in Nampa at the current Boise State West campus.
Boise State is allowing the use of its campus for this community college. The cost to the taxpayers will be minimal: a $17 increase in property taxes for an average home of $152,000. It is truly not a lot of money, only $4 million between the two counties, for a project that overall is valued at $100 million (factoring in the cost of the property and such).
Let me tell you WHY we need this community college. Today in our storefront office on West Bannock, a young man walked in who had noticed the banners in the window. He wanted information on the community college. This man works in a service job and has an associate degree from ITT Tech. He wants to be a nurse, and started a program at Boise State but couldn’t continue because of the cost. He told us that he would be able to afford a community college – he just wants a chance to succeed in his chosen field.
If the young man couldn’t afford Boise State, he certainly couldn’t afford Stevens-Heneger or Apollo College. These private universities are a relative fortune. A community college can educate this prospective nurse at roughly half the cost BSU can. And he will become a productive, highly-earning member of society. Higher education brings higher incomes and that raises the quality of life for all of us.
I’ve spoken to several employers, especially in health care, law enforcement and firefighting and they all bemoan the idea of having to train their workers out of state or even to bring them in from out of the country. We have a shortage in all these areas and need qualified employees in public health and safety.
By 2020, Idaho is expected to have only 40 percent of the nurses needed to care for the health needs of the state’s population, yet each year only about half of qualified nursing school applicants are admitted into RN programs in Idaho. In fact, 65% of all nurses nationwide are educated at community colleges. And finally, the amount of money a business has to spend to train a clerical worker is staggering. The cost of sending an office manager to one of the training companies Mr. Rhodes mentioned versus sending that person to a community college is no contest; the community college will always be the lowest cost alternative.
The Treasure Valley is the largest metro area in the country without a community college. Remember, TVCC is based in Oregon. We do have many great schools here. But we also have more than 600 students from Ada and Canyon counties driving to the College of Southern Idaho. It is time to get with the times. At a minimal cost to taxpayers, we can finally join the rest of the country in offering a low-cost, high quality, locally-controlled community college.
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