Governor proposes $16.8 million for community colleges

Money to boost manufacturing, technical, health sciences
Apr. 11, 2014 @ 08:09 AM

North Carolina should boost spending in community colleges by $16.8 million, targeting programs in health care, manufacturing, production, and biological and bio-chemical studies, Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday in Hickory.

"Our goal has been to get people back to work," McCrory said, explaining why he would target those fields of study. "I still hear from employers throughout the state that we still have job openings, but we cannot fill the jobs because of a lack of skills. That's where education and commerce have to come together."

McCrory said he will include that proposal in his budget plan for fiscal 2014-15. The plan would have to pass the General Assembly.

The money would come from about $18 million the community college system did not receive from the state this year because of declining enrollment throughout the 58-school system. State allocations to the colleges are tied to enrollment, but his plan for the $16.8 million would not be.

"We want to reward those community colleges for teaching those courses where kids can land jobs when they get out, and then use those kids as recruitment tools to bring new jobs into this area," McCrory added. "This initiative is not tax dollars but a reallocation of funds. It's a win-win for North Carolina families, students, taxpayers and employers."

McCrory made the announcement at Catawba Valley Community College after a tour of the college's ValleySim hospital, a simulated training hospital on the fifth floor of the Dunbar Building on the CVCC campus in Hickory.