There is a flurry of activity taking place, and all 17 Oregon community colleges are working to remain at the forefront of the 2023 legislative session. Since the beginning of the year, TVCC along with the other Oregon community colleges have rallied together. We have shared student success stories, provided testimony on legislative issues that affect us, and submitted letters and messages to our legislators asking for their continued support.
This legislative session, Oregon community colleges are asking for a statewide funding package of a base budget of $855 million (HB 2025) which is approximately $156 million in additional on-going funds and we are asking for continued funding for specific grants and support services.
In addition, community colleges have requests for new funding that will help in the critical areas of cybersecurity ($11 million), capital construction ($37.5 million) and a one-time ask of $50 million in transition funding to give community colleges time to increase their enrollment back to pre-COVID numbers. These funding amounts are crucial to maintain existing services, keep tuition affordable, and provide program expansion. As in every session, we appreciate the work of our legislators and understand the task they have to review thousands of bills vying for priority and focus.
Prior to the impact of COVID-19 and even after the pandemic, community colleges have continued to work hard to retain and recruit students. We have been instrumental in our ability to adapt and meet the changing needs and circumstances for our students and our communities. We continue to be flexible and responsive in serving students at all education and skill levels, as well as identifying the resources students need to overcome barriers. Community colleges are also an important component when it comes to workforce training and short-term certificate programs that lead directly to employment.
Earlier this month, I attended the Oregon Community College Association Legislative Summit in Salem, along with board member Stephen Crow and Board Chair Dirk DeBoer. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the political landscape and how community colleges can support each other. We were able to meet with several legislators including Senators Findley and Lieber and Representatives Owens, Levy, and Lively. I appreciate these legislators opening their doors and taking time to meet with us. I also appreciate their support in the work we do in higher education as well as their perspective on key issues.
When I am not in Salem, our internal work on campus is just as important as we prepare for our Annual Scholarship Review Night on March 24. This night has become a tradition for many volunteers over the years who enjoy spending a couple of hours to review student scholarships. I appreciate the commitment of these volunteers as many return each year to help with this process.
We are also preparing for a Community Launch Party for the public phase of our nursing and allied health professions center capital campaign. This event will be held on Tuesday, April 4 from 5-7 p.m. in the tech lab (nursing) building. Community members are invited to attend. As I had mentioned earlier, there is a flurry of activity happening!
Dana Youngis president of Treasure Valley Community College. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.
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