Hartnell College President Edward J. Valeau and Aaron P. Johnson, chair of the college's board of trustees, are expressing great concern over major program cuts outlined in President Bush's 2006 budget that will seriously impact community colleges across the nation and Hartnell College in particular.
In a recent letter to President Bush, Valeau and Johnson said it is not possible for an individual to obain life sustaining wages without at least two years of college.
We believe, they continued, that it is critical to a healthy U.S. economy that you (President Bush) and Congress continue to support educational programs that serve as a bridge between elementary, secondary and a community college education.
Specifically, Valeau and Johnson urged that cuts be restored in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, the GEAR UP Program and the TRIO Programs because these programs are essential to ensure the pipeline of academically prepared students from K-12 into a community college education.
Without Perkins funding, Hartnell will not be able to financially sustain viability in our vocational programs, thus undermining the chances for a literate and effective workforce, Valeau and Johnson said.
The duo also noted that community colleges have become the beacon for change in the nation. For example, through GEAR UP partnerships, low-income families are encouraged to guide their children to attend college, they said. Hartnell's GEAR UP Program has served more than 4,200 students in the Salinas Valley.