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CO Community Colleges Would Benefit from $8 Billion Plan

Velkr0 / Flickr – Creative Commons

Colorado’s community college system could be getting a financial shot in the arm if President Barack Obama has his way. Today the president proposed $8 billion dollars in new spending for community colleges as part of his latest budget proposal.

The so called “Community College to Career Fund" would support programs that train workers for high-growth industries like health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing. This last category is expected to see 2 million job openings over the next six years as baby boomers retire.

But ramping up training is expensive, according to President of the Colorado Community College System Nancy McCallin.

“It’s hard to produce them on a huge scale without an influx of money and when the money has gone down as it has over the last four years, it makes it difficult to provide this kind of training on the high-level scale,” she said.

McCallin is referring to state funding, with has gone down from $3,500 per student in 2001 to just $2,000 today. President Obama’s program would also create paid internships for low-income students.

It’s now up to Congress to debate the proposal, which is part of Obama’s 2013 budget.