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2009 May 18 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Georgia Technical Colleges See 15 Percent Enrollment Spike  

ATLANTA (AP) — The state’s technical colleges have seen a 15 percent spike in enrollment over this time last year as laid-off workers return to school to learn other trades. 

Technical College of Georgia spokesman Mike Light said enrollment at Georgia’s 33 technical colleges jumped to 90,000 this spring, up more than 12,000 students from last year. Ten of the campuses reported growth of 20 percent or more in that time period.

It’s the second highest enrollment in the system’s history. The highest was in 2003 when technical colleges enrolled more than 91,000 students.

Technical colleges offer certificates and associate degrees in trades from nursing to welding.

  • Building Projects Top Iowa Community College Wish List  

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Building projects top the wish list at Iowa’s 15 community colleges for Gov. Chet Culver’s proposed $750 million stimulus package.

The schools want to build at least 57 new buildings, repair older ones and bring high-speed Internet access to rural areas to meet demand for online classes.

Most new building projects would provide classroom space, laboratories and job training centers. More than 88,000 students were enrolled in Iowa’s community colleges last year. That’s up 34 percent since 2001.

The projects include a career academy, health care simulation lab and performing arts centers.

  • W. Va. College Offers Free Classes to Unemployed

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Northern Community College is offering workers who’ve lost their jobs an opportunity to make a fresh start.

The Wheeling school plans to offer free summer and fall classes to laid-off workers that will provide training for other jobs.

Dean of enrollment management Janet Fike says the goal is to help jobless workers find other employment in the local area. Tuition and fees will be waived for West Virginia residents who’ve lost their jobs or have been dislocated within the past 180 days.

The free programs range from appliance repair to real estate. Fike says full-time students can complete most of the programs in one year.

  • N.C. Gov. Calls For Revamped College Training Programs 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Beverly Perdue says Charlotte-area university courses and training programs need to be redesigned as the region faces a nearly 12 percent jobless rate.

Perdue released details of her “12 in 6” program, which will create community college programs that require fewer than six months to complete in 12 careers.

Perdue said the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has agreed to accelerate some certificate training programs. Curricula for 21 college-level courses will be redesigned to meet the six-month deadline.

The Department of Commerce will create a team to help find and recruit financial and insurance sector jobs. The Charlotte region was hit by the financial industry’s collapse as both Bank of America and Wachovia are based in the city.

  • Oregon Call   Center Offers Assistance to State’s Jobless

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The phones have been ringing steadily at a call center for the jobless created by a coalition of government and nonprofit agencies in Eugene.

The call center is a project of the Lane Workforce Partnership, Lane Community College, United Way, Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Employment Department.

The Register-Guard reports demand for the call center’s services remains high with Lane County’s unemployment rate hitting 13.1 percent in March, a full point above the statewide unemployment rate of 12.1 percent for the same month.

The center helps laid-off workers look for jobs and manage their bills during the search.

On average, a staff of four handles 30 calls a day, according to Kristina Payne, a manager for the Lane Workforce Partnership.

She said that after about 2,200 workers were laid off last month by RV maker Monaco Coach Corp., plans for the call center came together quickly. Payne says the call center is the only one in the state that is associated with a workforce development agency.

The goal of the help line was to provide assistance with a number of issues as a result of job loss and connect people with resources in the community, she said.

  • Michigan Picks Locations for ‘Promise Zone’ Scholarships

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan has announced qualifying locations for a new program aimed at providing more college scholarships to high school graduates in 10 low-income areas of the state.

Designations have been awarded to Baldwin Community Schools, Battle Creek Public Schools, Benton Harbor Area Schools, the City of Detroit, the School District of the City of Hazel Park, Jackson Public Schools, the Lansing School District, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, the School District of the City of Pontiac and the Saginaw School District.

A measure signed into law in January by Gov. Jennifer Granholm allowed the creation of 10 “promise zones,” and 14 communities submitted applications. The legislation was modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise, which guarantees free college tuition to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools.

“Communities need this powerful new tool to take charge of their economic futures,” Granholm said in a statement.

Communities, relying heavily on private funding, must prove they have enough cash to run their college scholarship programs for two years before they could get matching funds from the state. At a minimum, the programs must provide students living within the “promise zone” tuition for two years at a community college.

  • Neb. Senator Calls For More Resources for Tribal Colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., says he’s asking for more resources for American Indian colleges and universities to upgrade their math and science laboratories.

Nebraska has two tribal colleges that could benefit: Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago and Nebraska Indian Community College, which has campuses in Macy, Niobrara and South Sioux City.

A letter from Johanns and other senators is addressed to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which allocates funding for the Minority Institutions Infrastructure Support Program.

The program currently gets $2.6 million. The letter asks for $3.3 million.

Johanns says studies show American Indian youths lag behind their peers in the areas of math, science and technology. 

  • Miss. Nursing Schools Fall Short of Goals, Report Shows 

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A recent report from the state College Board of Mississippi shows that half of Mississippi’s universities and colleges that offer nursing programs did not meet all of the state’s standards last year.

Eleven schools had to implement program improvement plans following changes on the national standardized nursing exam and increased demands from the College Board.

Failure to make the needed improvements could eventually lead to loss of accreditation.

Most of the schools have as few as one or two standards that were not met.

Martha Catlette, director of Nursing Education for the state College Board, said Coahoma Community College failed to meet 10 of the state’s 13 annual accreditation standards but the school is working to remedy the problems.

  • 59 Two-Year College Programs Set to be Slashed in La.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s top higher education board is cutting 87 programs with low completion rates to save money.

The Louisiana Board of Regents approved the list of  “low-completer” programs that will be eliminated.

Education officials said students enrolled in the programs will be able to finish their degrees before the programs are scrapped.

The cuts include areas like an anthropology program at Northwestern State University and a horticulture program at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Programs set to be cut or consolidated into other areas include nine programs in the Louisiana State University System, 14 programs in the University of Louisiana System, five in the Southern University System and 59 in the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

  • Ariz. Colleges Preparing for Jumps in    Enrollments

PHOENIX (AP) — Community college officials say they’re seeing an increase in students amid rising costs at state universities.

Spring enrollment in the Maricopa Community College District jumped nearly 5 percent to 250,000 students. Students registered even before the state’s universities imposed tuition surcharges ranging from $350 at Northern Arizona University to $766 at the University of Arizona.

“We are expecting a major increase in the fall as the universities price people out,” said Barry Vaughan, president of the Maricopa Community College District’s faculty association.

He said the new charges are a significant increase for freshmen. “You know there will be a percentage of students who were barely affording it before,” he said.

Growth at the 10 campuses that make up the Maricopa Community College District ranged from 0.3 percent at Phoenix College to more than 16 percent at the online Rio Salado campus.

“I came here because it’s cheaper than the universities,’’ said 18-year-old Sheryl Williams, a student at Paradise Valley Community College. “It’s too high at ASU.”

A lot of enrollment statistics have to do with a boom or bust economy, said Debra Thompson, vice chancellor of the district.

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