Two state legislators today said community colleges are the key to growing Iowa’s skilled workforce and bringing good-paying jobs to Iowa. Last week, the Governor outlined his budget plans and called for a $6 million cut to Iowa’s 15 community colleges.

“We need to invest in workforce training and help more Iowans get the skills they need for 21st century jobs.  Iowa is known for our quality education and highly-skilled workforce, but we can’t afford to move backwards when the jobs of tomorrow require more training than ever,” said State Representative Phyllis Thede of Bettendorf.

According to the Iowa Department of Education, tuition at Iowa’s community colleges is 60% higher than the national average.  Under Governor Branstad’s proposed budget, community colleges would be cut by a total of $6 million from last year.  Reductions proposed by the Governor in worker training efforts include a $2 million reduction in the Workforce Training Fund and a $5 million reduction to the Accelerated Careers Education (ACE).

“With over 100,000 Iowans enrolled across Iowa, community colleges play a key role in training our workforce statewide.  If businesses are going to expand or locate in Iowa, we must have a skilled workforce that can meet their needs.  Middle class Iowa families depend on affordable community college tuition to get the additional training that helps them land good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm of Cresco.

“As we begin to put together the budget, we’re going to work together with our Republican colleagues to grow our skilled workforce and bring more jobs to Iowa,” added Thede.

The Legislators also encouraged Iowans to sign an on-line petition in support of Iowa’s community colleges and students at www.iowahouse.org/communitycollege.