Well, we now have a State budget for the next two years. While I certainly understand that we can’t spend what we don’t have at any level…personally or organizationally, or at the local, state or federal government level…budgets are still about priorities and what is most important at any given time.
With the passage of the State budget, resulting in a 30% reduction in state funding for technical colleges, along with strict limits on our ability to adjust the local property tax levy, I’m concerned about how we (and all educational systems) are going to support the kind of job growth our state leaders seem interested in generating.
The Oshkosh Northwestern editorial dated June 4, 2011, really hits the nail on the head. They are exactly right in using the headline, “Cutting technical colleges at odds with job growth.”
A few weeks later, I was reading the June 20, 2011, edition of The Business News that featured a recent survey conducted by The Nicolet Bank Business Pulse designed to gauge CEO perceptions of the challenges and opportunities in leading their organizations here in the New North. Not surprising to me, the top two greatest challenges were “hiring great talent” and “enhancing skills and knowledge.” This concern isn’t unique to northeast Wisconsin, as we continue to hear about the need for people with the skill sets required in today’s economy, skill sets that far too many people don’t have.
We are all committed to job creation for our State and our local communities. I just hope we have the resources to support the development of people for those jobs, including those who are currently underemployed and unemployed. The two are inextricably linked, except in the priorities of our State government and made quite clear in the new budget. Since budgets require prioritization, do you agree that in this economy, funding for Wisconsin’s technical colleges should be reduced by 30%? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.