Even though we’re a few weeks into the new year, I thought I might share some of what’s ahead for FVTC this year. I had the honor of joining a number of business and governmental leaders in sharing some thoughts about the overall 2017 Economic Outlook in the December 2016 edition of the New North B2B magazine, but here I will focus on just a couple of items more specific to the College.
- State Biennial Budget Development – The months ahead will hold the work of the Governor and State Legislature on the state budget for the next biennium. Of course, this is of great importance to FVTC as roughly 36% of our funding now comes from State budget allocations. While we are hoping to see some increase in operational revenue in this next budget, one of our top priorities is increased funding for our students through the needs-based Wisconsin Grants program.
Currently, of the $103 million available to students in all of the Wisconsin higher education sectors, technical college students have access to only 18% of these dollars – and we have far more students and also serve greater needs with our learners within the Technical College System. We also hope to see additional workforce training grant dollars made available in the upcoming biennium, allowing us to expand our services to many of the region’s employers for incumbent worker training.
- Service Expansion in Waushara County – Our staff have been doing a great deal of work over many months to examine the regional economic and workforce development needs in Waushara County and how the College could best expand services and support to that region of our District. We will be advancing an expansion proposal to the Board of Trustees in February and my hope is that we move toward implementation of the proposed plan shortly thereafter. This would certainly make for a very exciting 2017-18 for the residents and employers in Waushara County.
- Preparing for Promise Scholars Next Fall – I’ve shared in a previous blog post some thoughts about our Promise program that was launched last August, a scholarship initiative that will support a college education for low-income students in our service area. I’m delighted to share that we have 837 high school seniors who have expressed interest in this opportunity to begin a degree program in the fall of 2017. To prepare for these students and the kinds of support systems they will need to be successful, staff will be focusing a great deal of energy on this group between now and August. Can’t wait to welcome these new high school grads!
From my perspective, there’s a pretty clear theme in these items for the year ahead – developing people and providing opportunities for more individuals and companies to enhance their success in our strengthening economy. All the best in 2017! If there are ways we can be of greater service, please let me know.