Colorado Mountain College has worked hard to develop a presence in Washington, D.C. To do so has required that college leadership make a strong and sustained commitment to building relationships with the college’s congressional delegation, recognizing that this investment can result in outcomes that impact student success.
One example of why this work is important, can be seen in the solicitation of Colorado Mountain College’s input in the recent activities surrounding the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.
Community colleges have long played a central role in workforce development. These locally based institutions of higher education have gained prominence over the last several years for initiating numerous partnerships that ensure students are trained for existing jobs. Several federal agencies including the Department of Labor have recognized community college initiatives to improve employment rates . Many of these partnerships are made possible because of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This legislation provides funding and services for states to improve employment outcomes, earnings, and workforce training.
The Workforce Investment Act is now ready for reauthorization and, at Colorado Mountain College. We are highly involved in the developments taking shape. We are working closely with members of our congressional delegation from both sides of the aisle. Colorado Mountain College offered input for both the bill sponsored by Democrats and the bill introduced by Republicans. The rift between the parties was sharp and, in the end, Democrats walked out of the House Education and Workforce Committee and refused to vote, leaving the Republican Version, The SKILLS Act, being carried with a 23-0 vote
Dr. Jill Boyle and Dr. Charles Dassance meet with Representative Tipton,
The Senate will now assume the discussion. In our conversations with senators, we will continue to emphasize the dynamic relationship between the role of community colleges and workforce development and underscore the need for fully supporting our many programs that prepare students for the workforce.
Continued support of community colleges is critical to the country’s continued economic recovery and, for those of us involved in delivering services to students, it is vitally important to continue to advocate for the role of education in workforce development.