The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Obama: increase funding to community colleges


President Barack Obama proposed Feb. 13 to create an $8 billion fund to invest in community college students’ job training.

The Community College to Career Fund would train 2 million students for jobs in areas with high growth potential like health care and cyber security, according to the White House.

The fund is part of Obama’s proposed 2013 budget.

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“This should be an engine of job growth all across the country, these community colleges,” Obama said in a speech at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va. “And that’s why we’ve got to support them.” 

But it is unlikely Congress will pass the proposal, said De Anza College president Brian Murphy.

“We are certainly aware of the president’s proposal for the additional budget augmentation for community colleges,” Murphy said. “However, we are extremely skeptical that the Congress will pass the president’s proposal. I believe that Republican leadership made it clear they have no interest in passing it.” 

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, told the Associated Press that he’s “skeptical” of the plan, but that Republicans support the goal of modernizing federal job training programs.

“The committee will give the president’s proposal the consideration it deserves,” Kline said.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., who chairs a subcommittee on higher education, told the Associated Press that the president’s proposal “does not solve problems.”

He said a better solution is to “evaluate the current federal jobs programs, make them more efficient and eliminate the totally inefficient ones.”

Murphy said Congress can ultimately adopt just part of the proposed amount. Even in this case, the proposal won’t be implemented sooner than 2013.

“Even if the Congress approves $1 billion or $2 billion, certainly not eight, then the money will be allocated to Department of Labor and Department of Education,” Murphy said. “And both departments will create guidelines. I wouldn’t expect even to see the regulations earlier than in one year.”

He said that last year a $2 billion fund was available to community colleges in $500,000 allotments.

“We applied but did not get any funds,” Murphy said. “Colleges applied in consortia, in groups, but very few received the money. I do not know any one community college consortium in California to get this money.”

“None of that compensates for the withdrawal of state money,” he added.

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