$12 billion offered for community colleges

By Ontario Richardson - bio | email | Twitter

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - President Barack Obama has proposed a multibillion dollar investment plan for community colleges, and he is also hoping five million additional students will graduate for community colleges by 2010.

Obama is wanting to invest $12 billion in community colleges around the nation. Of that, $9 billion will go towards grants and addressing dropout rates, $500 billion will go towards online education. The additional $2.5 billion will go towards replacing or renovating outdated facilities.

The proposal is a way to expand education and help workers compete for jobs. Dean of Pearl River Community College in Hattiesburg Celic Burt said those funds are well needed during a tight economical budget.

"We have a lot of needs," said Burt. "Many of our needs are in the facility area. We have out grown basically our facility and our infrastructure here on this campus. We have a number of buildings that are in need of renovation."

Burt also said PRCC is in favor of workforce training classes and wants to make sure those jobs in which they train students for are in demand.

"We have to determine which comes first the chicken or the egg<" said Burt. "We don't want to jump out and put in training programs in which there aren't any jobs yet in that area. We want to be sure that the economy is such so we are able to place our graduates."

Jones County Junior College President, Jessie Smith said his college is hoping to utilize the funds as well.

"It helps us address some of the issues that have prevent us from being able to reach some folks," said Smith "More folks from Mississippi will be able to come to school."

And pending approval from Congress, the funds could be available by the 2010 budget year which starts in October.

©2009 WDAM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.