This is our ad today in the Post Register. Over 500 local people want to be known as supporting a "Yes" vote on May 16th! It is believed this is the largest number of endorsements for any ballot issue or candidate in Bonneville County history.
"The University of Idaho is looking forward to the addition of a high quality community college in Eastern Idaho. We believe it will have an immediate impact on the go-on rate in this region as it will provide people a local affordable entry point to advanced education. A community college, with a unique focus on workforce development, will serve the needs of the growing industry in Eastern Idaho. As the state's land grant research institution, the University of Idaho looks forward to partnering with the community college to expand the much needed educational opportunities for the people in this region."
Dr. Marc Skinner
Executive Officer, Eastern Idaho
University of Idaho
Idaho Falls Center
“Brigham Young University-Idaho is pleased about the prospect of working with a community college in eastern Idaho. It would provide young people of our area with more educational opportunities and could even help prepare students to continue their education at BYU-Idaho. A community college also would be a particular benefit to locally enrolled BYU-Pathway Worldwide students who hope to pursue a college degree.” -- Official Statement by BYU-Idaho Spokesman Brett Sampson
Ammon City Councilman and local businessman Brad Christensen writes in the Post Register:
"The proposal [to create a community college] is the definition of prudence, and what it yields — not just in economic terms, but in human terms — is something so far beyond its small cost.
I believe in government that is limited, not eliminated.
I believe in the value of education — not just theoretical higher education, but also in the form of education that community colleges are best at — identifying local business and industrial needs, and meeting them with people equipped with the skills to help them thrive. We can have all this and still retain the great technical programs the school presently provides."
Read the full column here.
Amy Lientz, the INL's Director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment released the following statement to the local media this week:
"Many improvements have been made in Idaho’s education and workforce development efforts in recent years, but much more needs to be done. Around the country, national labs and businesses partner to build an employable workforce. Eastern Idaho Technical College has helped in this area, but it is limited by not being designated as a "community college". Eastern Idaho is the only region in this state without a community college and our workforce development efforts have been handicapped as a result. A community college in the local area is missing element to help fill technically based needs and/or to provide a starting place for students at an affordable cost that want to go on to another Idaho University."
The Idaho Falls Post Register backs turning EITC into a community college.
"There’s untold numbers of people in unique circumstances who could fit into a local community college’s flexible schedule and a location right here in the city of Idaho Falls.
We’ll see hundreds of first-generation college students. Stay-at-home moms will be able to get a degree when their kids are older and more independent. Young families can help dad study for his certificate or two-year degree that will transition to a high paying career right in town. Special needs or disabled students who have to stay close to home for the beginning of their post-high school educations can have a leg up in transitioning to independence.
It will be good for our economy, good for our children and grandchildren and good for our community’s future.
We’re all in.
Vote yes on May 16."
Read their editorial here.
Prominent Idaho Falls physician Dr. John Liljenquist has a provocative and thoughtful column in the Post Register on how a community college will protect jobs, despite increasing use of robots and other automation:
"With the coming of artificial intelligence and robots, millions upon millions of jobs are going to be lost in the next twenty years. The first to go will be jobs which require no schooling or training, like jobs in fast food or potato warehouses.
. . .
But, perhaps even more importantly, these young people would have entered the higher education system, realized they were capable of achieving much more than they had originally thought and they would be into an education path that will lead them to skills that will be needed even when the robots and computers take away so many jobs."
You can read the full column here.
The Post Register on April 16, 2017 published a detailed look at the opponents and supporters of turning EITC into a community college and the arguments of each side. Frankly, the opponents aren't even all from Bonneville County and their arguments are not supported by solid data. The case for creating a community college is backed by solid data, including a study by the Research & Business Development Center, the leading economic analysis organization in the area. View the story here.
Mr. Snyder, a retired commercialization manager at INL, wrote a column (here) in the Post Register pointing out:
"The heart of a college-going culture lies in our families and peers. Anecdotal stories, scholarly studies and our own experiences tell us that families, especially parents, and peers have an outsize influence on the choices available to, and taken by, teens.
If your parents did not finish high school, the chances of going on to college out of high school are about 36 percent. That chance jumps to 82 percent if your parents have a bachelor’s degree or higher."
Mr. Snyder argues that creating a College of Eastern Idaho will reduce the cost of local higher education dramatically but sheer convenience would also be a significant factor.
Former Idaho Falls City councilmember and prominent local accountant Ken Taylor wrote an excellent column for the Post Register on how a community college will save local residents money. Here is a key part of his column:
"A community college can offer affordable higher education to many students in our community. Tuition costs of a community college are one third the cost of a four-year school. Students can live at home; further saving the lodging costs of attending a college outside the community. Students may choose to get their first two years of higher education at the community college and transfer into bachelor programs of other institutions in their junior year. Additionally, two-year associate degrees would be available. The existing technical training would be continued and enhanced. High school students could transfer their dual credit courses. Each of these options provide an affordable and convenient way for graduating high school students to continue their higher education."
View the full column here.