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Voice: Davis must remember community colleges

December 09, 2001

As our governor faces the difficult decisions involved in formulating California's proposed 2002-03 state budget, we urge him to keep in mind the many ways in which our community colleges can and will serve California during this critical period.

Our state's current and projected economic downturns are already resulting in increased numbers of unemployed or laid-off workers. These workers must and will seek the opportunity to retrain or update their skills.

Community colleges, the largest workhorse provider in California, will serve not only the needs of these workers but also the demands of employers, who continue to need a more highly skilled workhorse.

At Imperial Valley College, vast numbers of students are being trained in the important areas of nursing, automotive technology, administration of justice, business applications and information systems. What we are doing in our community is being replicated by community colleges throughout the state.

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Local employers in our district, including the county, the city of Imperial, Imperial Irrigation District, Government Agencies Credit Union, Valley Independent Bank and dozens of small local retailers have sought partnerships with our college to train their employees. We have worked hard to fulfill their needs through innovative programs and alliances.

Creating a better, more productive workhorse is a mission we take seriously, and one we are fulfilling in the most tangible of ways.

Imperial Valley College also has within its district seven highly reputed public high schools as well as a number of excellent private high schools. Nearly 60 percent of the graduates of those schools attend Imperial Valley College within two years of high school graduation.

For our "knowledge-based economy" a high school education is no longer sufficient to be a full participant in today's workplace. Thus, many IVC classes provide the education needed to get a job or move into a better job. For others, attending a community college while working and saving money is the best or only way they can prepare for transfer to a California State University or University of California campus.

There is no more economical way for California to have its citizens attain a high-quality baccalaureate degree than by investing in community colleges.

An investment in California's community colleges is a necessary investment for the future economic well-being of this state and its people.

As Gov. Davis weighs crucial budgetary decisions, I urge him to be guided by this understanding. The 108 community colleges are strategically located throughout the state and capable of providing education to develop the highly skilled workhorse California needs. His decision to invest in our colleges at this time is critical to California's having the capacity to respond during these challenging times.

GILBERT M. DOMINGUEZ Ed.D.

Superintendent/president

Imperial Valley College

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