I read with concern your report on rising costs and falling attendance at community colleges in our area. ("Students are paying more for community college while attendance drops," May 9.) Not only is this troubling news for those institutions and their students; it has serious repercussions for our economic future. While the article notes that decreased state funding is part of the problem, I believe the federal government could be part of the solution.
Last year, the U.S. House passed a bill I introduced, along with my colleague Glen Thompson, a Pennsylvania Republican, to reauthorize our national Career and Technical Education program, which hasn't been updated since 2006. Our bill would authorize up to an additional $1.23 billion by 2023 to help shore up the CTE programs offered by community colleges across the country. It's an important investment in preparing our young people and laid-off workers for future jobs.
Just as important, our bill would more closely link our community colleges with local businesses to help prioritize courses training students in the knowledge and skills employers need. This will help ensure that the education and training provided to students will result in immediate jobs and successful careers.
I am hopeful that the U.S. Senate will act on our CTE bill before the end of this Congress. With renewed federal resources, and classes that lead directly to good jobs, our community colleges can hold down costs while attracting more students. It should be a no-brainer to support local colleges developing the brains we'll need in the years to come.
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi