SLCC president testifies in DC about CTE funding

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Salt Lake Community College President Deneece G. Huftalin testified Tuesday in front of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education for the meeting “Improving Career and Technical Education to Help Students Succeed in the Workforce.”

House members are currently considering reauthorization of funding for the 1984 Perkins Act, established to improve the quality of technical education as a means of helping the economy. Lawmakers invited Huftalin and others to talk about the impact Perkins funds have had on CTE programs at their institutions. For fiscal year 2016, SLCC received approximately $1.25 million in Perkins money.

“Over the last several years as the recession weakened state investment in higher education, Perkins funding was crucial to our ability to maintain and grow key CTE programs for our students at a time when our enrollment was rapidly increasing,” Huftalin told legislators. “Acquiring modern equipment is imperative for state-of-the-art CTE programs. These programs are costly to maintain and often require significant financial resources to ensure we have the latest technologies and equipment to train our students to enter today’s ever-advancing and technical workplace.”

Huftalin said Perkins funds have also been used to improve training in SLCC’s Aviation Maintenance Avionics “to meet industry demand and maintain high-quality training” in the college’s Automotive, Diesel Training and Building construction programs, all serving “critical industries that contribute to a healthy economy.” She told representatives how Perkins dollars help strengthen student support services that help increase completion rates. SLCC’s president highlighted how the college works collaboratively with The Boeing Company to train students in CTE areas like machining, fabrication and composites within SLCC’s aerospace manufacturing program, which relies on Perkins funds.

“Career and technical education has always been, and will continue to be, at the very core of our mission at Salt Lake Community College,” Huftalin concluded before taking questions from committee members. “We appreciate your past support of the Perkins program and encourage your continued support as this worthwhile program is considered for reauthorization.”

Salt Lake Community College is an accredited, student-focused, comprehensive community college meeting the diverse needs of the Salt Lake community. Home to more than 60,000 students each year, the College is Utah’s leading provider of workforce development programs. SLCC is also the largest supplier of transfer students to Utah’s four-year institutions and a perennial Top 10 college nationally for total associate degrees awarded. The College is the sole provider of applied technology courses in the Salt Lake area, with multiple locations, an eCampus, and nearly 1,000 continuing education sites located throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Personal attention from an excellent faculty is paramount at the College, which maintains an average class size of 20.