On Jan. 8, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newson issued a statement revealing a massive budget proposal that supports community colleges like Las Positas all across the nation with emergency relief funds.
The budget outlines a specific structure, releasing one-time payments of 250 million to emergency financial assistance, 100 million regarding food and housing support, and 30 million for internet and computer options for students to help work with low income families and the “digital divide.”
The Governor recognizes that community colleges play a huge role in preparing students to be ready for the workforce, and applauds them for having the largest output of medical trainees and emergency responders into the system. It shows the importance of community colleges and their role in preparing students to be on the front lines.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said, “The inequities of the pandemic and the economic recession have affected community college students more than any population in higher education. By investing in emergency student assistance and the infrastructure needed to continue bridging the digital divide, we can take the necessary steps to strengthen colleges’ efforts to lead our state to economic recovery.”
At Las Positas, some of these critical work-based programs include the EMT/Paramedic program and the Fire Service Technology program. Much of the money included in the budget will go towards funding programs like these and making sure the students have the resources they need to excel and join the essential workforce.
Community college students face the most challenges when it comes to pursuing higher education. Many do not continue to receive 4-year degrees or do not have the financial assistance to afford any education, and are left behind in the system, lacking the services they need.
The new budget proposal could help achieve the California Community College goal with their “Vision for Success,” allowing all students to have the resources they may lack. During these unprecedented times with COVID, the digital divide among students and lower income families has become prominent. With resources more readily available, many students will be able to succeed and join the essential workforce.
Renae Machuca is a staff writer for The Express. Follow her @renaeextra.