As many of you are aware, the House of Representatives passed a jobs bill last month that could greatly benefit community colleges by providing funds for retaining and hiring additional college staff and for workforce training programs. (AACC's summary of that bill can be found on the AACC website).
Yesterday, AACC sent a letter to the Senate Democratic leadership urging them to include similar provisions in jobs legislation that they plan to introduce soon. Although the jobs bill has not generated a great deal of attention, it stands a reasonable prospect of providing significant financial relief for at least some of our colleges. Despite the abysmal federal budget landscape and the pressures against greater deficit spending, Congress and the Administration are aware of the dire state budget situation, and are further aware that states cannot print money to remedy the situation.
Also, it is important to remember that the jobs legislation provides actual funding. H.R. 4196, the Emergency Community College Financial Stabilization Act, which AACC supports, is an authorization bill that does not provide any money, in and of itself. Therefore, we believe it is best to concentrate efforts at this time on actually securing funds, while working to refine and broaden the base of support for H.R. 4196. Ideally, the community college focus of H.R. 4196 will be reflected in the jobs bill.
Thanks for your attention to this important matter.
AACC Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Research