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Wake Tech asking U.S. aid to serve growing demand

Posted March 11, 2009

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— Enrollment at Wake Technical Community College is rising and state support may be shrinking, so college officials headed to Washington on Wednesday to seek help from the people on the front lines of the battle against the recession.

Wake Tech President Stephen Scott led the group that planned to call on the state’s senators and representatives to present a wish list for funding that the college says will help it equip people to compete for jobs.

In normal times, 60,000 people enroll at Wake Tech every year, but community college enrollment rises when the economy turns down. Enrollment is already up 14 percent this spring compared with the same time in 2008 as people seek new skills they can take to the job market.

"You just have to get a degree and hope that there is an opportunity waiting, even with the economy being as down as it is," Wake student Candace McKoy said.

More students means more tuition, but that is not enough to cover costs. Community colleges usually get about a third of their funding from the state, but North Carolina might not have that money this year as the governor and Legislature face yawning budget deficits for the current and coming fiscal years.

To support the work that Wake Tech wants to do, Scott and others are turning to the federal government.

Wake Tech's wish list includes:

  • $840,000 for high-growth jobs such as green car technologies and simulation and video game development
  • Nearly $800,000 for the Health Sciences Center for fast-track careers in health care
  • $700,000 to enhance it’s the Public Safety Training Center with new simulated training for police and emergency workers.

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  • zcat Mar 11, 2009

    Under the NC Constitution:

    This constitutional mandate for a public system of higher education is effected by Chapters 115 and 116 of the General Statutes. Chapter 115A, enacted in 1963, provides for a statewide network of community and technical colleges and institutes which offer two-year college transfer and technical and vocational programs.

    Using taxation to support the community colleges in NC is nothing new. An education at a private college can cost 10 times what the same education costs at Wake Tech. This gives a lot of people the chance to get a "real world" education. I think the education provided by our community colleges is a good value for the people of NC.

  • missdawg Mar 11, 2009

    NCcarguy, guess what? I go to Wake Tech. I pay my tuition AND I pay taxes, just like everyone else who goes there. It's a great school, and it's a shame that you don't feel that education is important. It sounds like you would much rather have your tax dollars going towards welfare and food stamps than education. If everyone is on welfare, who's going to pay taxes to support them?

  • Arkangel Mar 11, 2009

    NCcarguy is the exact reason why we need to put more money into education. He apparently would prefer to live in an even more uneducated country where people use......periods....like...they....have....never....used..on

  • happymom Mar 11, 2009

    NCcarguy, I'm not sure how you extracted the idea of "if something's expensive, we should share the cost" from my post. What I clearly said was that if something serves to substantially benefit the public good, we should be willing to fund it.

    Buying someone a house doesn't fit into this category. Having an educated workforce, does.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Mar 11, 2009

    well happymom....should I also be required to pay for everyone that's going to that school, a nice new car to drive too? After all, based on your logic, if something is expensive, then we should share the cost! Maybe they need a nice big house too, one with a VERY comfortable "Office" so they have a quiet place to study. Wait, did I just wake up in Russia? I think I did....

  • happymom Mar 11, 2009

    NCCarguy, I hate to tell you this, but we all finance the education of ALL students who attend public colleges in this state. If we didn't, it would be impossible for many people to continue their education beyond high school AND society as a whole sufffers for that. I pay my fair share in taxes too, and I don't mind paying for something like this. Providing a way for our state to get back on its feet by making sure we have employable, qualified residents ready and able to work will help us recover more quickly. After all, an ounce of prevention...

  • MojoGal Mar 11, 2009

    artist - the number may seem high but take into account ALL the WTCC locations: http://facilities.waketech.edu/campuses/directions.php

    What grates me is how Legislature (not Dr. Scott or the people who work there) took away Wake Tech's ability to receive credit for teaching in the summer. The world does not close for summer. There are so many university students who would love to take courses during that time not to mention all those unemployed who would rather learn than sit and wait for fall.

    They do hold "some" classes but mainly those who are in certificate programs. Still, that money goes into someone's pocket in DC and not back to our communities.

  • Timtooltime Mar 11, 2009

    I left sout Florida 14 years ago! They are doing the same thing here ! I could not get into a county college due to the illegals for the islands flooding the college ! No free college to the illegals ! I am a native american indian and of dutch decent !Don't fall for the i need from the illegals who will take their free education back home ! Tim !

  • are you kidding me Mar 11, 2009

    How about charging the people that use Wake Tech for the services! This mentality that money comes from a trough in Washington is crazy! US taxpaying citizens put that money in the trough so our congress can throw it away! Oh my god, we are so doom!

  • artist Mar 11, 2009

    "In normal times, 60,000 people enroll at Wake Tech every year"

    Is this figure correct? .... 2-3-4 times the number of students enrolled at any major NC university?