Colleges key to future |

Colleges key to future

We agree with former Western Nevada College President Carol Lucey and John Gwaltney, who headed Truckee Meadows Community College, that the colleges need to separate themselves from the universities.

It’s at the community colleges that students learn the hands-on job skills that firms like Tesla are going to need in the future.

And yet, the university board of regents ignore the needs of these colleges and continue to pour money into the universities.

Lucey reported that since the 2010-11 budget, Western Nevada College’s general fund appropriation has shrunk by 31 percent from $18.5 million to $12.7 million.

Without the training needed to develop those hands-on skills, firms like Tesla will be looking out of state for the talent required instead of hiring Nevadans.

That means all the tax measures designed to bring jobs to Nevadans will be for nothing.

With reduced resources dedicated to Nevada’s higher education, regents have favored the two universities for funding over the community colleges.

As much as we love the universities, we know that much of the on the ground training required to make Nevada independent of gambling isn’t going to happen there.

No one we know is seeking a bachelor’s degree in welding or a masters in heavy equipment operation. That training happens at the community college level and is critical to the state’s future prosperity.

Unless regents start to show some interest in funding the community colleges, we call on the Legislature to begin the process to separate the two budgets.