Reporter’s notebook

  • New Jersey colleges avoid huge proposed budget cuts
  • Free job training courses for eligible Hawaii residents
  • Kudos to green power from the rooftops

New Jersey colleges avoid huge proposed budget cuts

New Jersey community colleges will receive level funding for most of the coming fiscal year after their advocacy efforts helped to ward off a proposal from the governor to cut the sector’s funding by $25 million.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed a revised fiscal year 2021 state budget that will level fund for nine months state operating aid for New Jersey’s 18 community colleges and support the Community College Opportunity Grant program, according to the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.

Last month, Murphy proposed a $25 million cut in state operating aid for community colleges for the next fiscal year, which would have been on top of a $34 million reduction in state operating aid in the current fiscal year.

“With the help of over 1,400 community college supporters from every county in the state, we sent almost 18,000 email messages to New Jersey Legislators urging them to restore the $25 million reduction in state operating aid proposed by the Governor … and they listened!” the council said in a release.

Free job training courses for eligible Hawaii residents

The University of Hawaii Community Colleges will offer free job skills courses for coronavirus-impacted workers this fall in partnership with the city and county of Honolulu.

The Oahu Back to Work program will run from October 5 through December 18, with instructors at seven community college campuses and the Manoa Outreach College providing more than 70 mostly virtual courses in fields such as health, industrial engineering, technology, trades and more.

The pandemic has crushed the state’s economy and displaced many workers, according to an announcement of the program. In August, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the city and county of Honolulu was 11.8 percent, compared to 3.4 percent last August, according to officials.

“When one person builds their skills during this crisis, we all benefit,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a release.

Kudos to green power from the rooftops

Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin has received a 2020 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA presented the Madison College Truax Campus Solar Photovoltaic System with an award for Direct Project Engagement at the virtual 2020 Renewable Energy Markets Conference last week. The college was one of only six organizations nationwide to receive a Leadership Award in that category.

The program recognizes EPA Green Power Partners that distinguish themselves through on- and off-site projects using a variety of financing structures to access renewable energy-based green power, according to the federal agency. Madison College currently generates nearly 2.4 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually from an on-site solar energy system at its Truax Campus, which supplies 23 percent of the building’s annual electricity use.

Madison College virtual tour of Wisconsin’s largest rooftop solar PV system.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.