Ventura College cuts vocational classes

Bryn Gallagher

The budget crises affects everyone, from the highest politician to the youngest child. This can be even seen at Ventura College which is currently making huge program cuts.

Many agriculture classes were knocked out long ago and now the sewing and automotive mechanic departments are soon to join them. VC is no longer catering to people who want to train for a job, they are catering to those who want to take classes for two years and then transfer to another university.

Ventura College is cutting classes, but still managing to add new buildings, which seems ironic. They do not have the money to keep the sewing classes running but they go ahead and create a new facility. Governor Jerry Brown has now proposed a $400 million cut at the community college level due to California’s deficit. What does this mean for Ventura?

This means fewer, more crowded, and more expensive classes for a growing number of students at community colleges like VC.  Luckily for VC though, all hope is not lost: President Obama signed a bill giving $500 million to the nation’s community colleges every year for four years.

This grant is part of his plan to get the community colleges to churn out five million graduates by 2020, and classes are tight as it is.

Part of what Obama wants is for Americans to be trained for the workforce. If they are going to VC, however, they are less likely to get that training. Vocational training is just as important as a four year degree. Some people do not want to be doctors or lawyers and even the best attorney needs someone to fix his car.

People still train to be mechanics, fashion designers and tailors because they are still worthy and necessary professions. But with so many classes being cut, it maybe hard for people to find a class that will allow them to study for a profession they’d like.

A college that is supposed to serve the community should serve every facet of that community. Cutting out vocational training is not serving the community in the least. It is already odd that a county filled with agriculture would have next to no classes on it.

We can’t expect every person going to a community college to be a recent high school grad who wants to save money. Some people are adults who want to learn a new profession, or perhaps a mom who wants to go back into the workforce with a competitive edge. These people are members of the community and they should be served too.

A functioning nation and a functioning community has to have people to fill every occupation, and currently we are only offered the training for some fields. President Obama himself said that more vocational training is needed, but in Ventura, we don’t seem to agree.

This is not to say that academic classes are not important or that VC should switch completely to vocational training. It is clear that we need educational courses as well, but we need a balance of educational and vocational in order to serve the community as best as possible.

VC is currently losing track of what a community college should be and the Ventura College Promise, the recession, or the legislature could possibly be responsible for this. Ultimately, however, we should not worry about who, or what, to blame but rather how to turn VC back into what it should be: a community college.

What do you think?