Community college need in parish under study

In this time of budget cuts and everything, unless you can produce your own autonomy and you can produce your own income to sustain you, then you take that chance that something’ll happen to you.
 
By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
A study is under way to determine the need for community college services in St. Mary Parish.
A bill authored by state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, and state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, in the most recent legislative session requested the study be done in St. Mary Parish. 
Based on the last study that was done, researchers determined that there is a need for community college services in the parish, but South Central Louisiana Technical College’s Young Memorial campus needs to maintain a strong technical aspect in order to service the marine industry, Port of Morgan City Economic Development Manager Cindy Cutrera said. Cutrera planned to attend a meeting Wednesday about the study.
Jones said he spoke with consultants doing the study Tuesday and made it clear to them he and Allain think that though there should be college courses for the community college functions, Young Memorial needs to be dominated by its vocational-technical component. Budget cuts have affected the state’s ability to train workers, Jones said.
Young Memorial is one of three vo-tech schools left in the state that is a “stand alone” school without community college status, Jones said. Adding the availability of fundamental community college courses would not change any of the structure that is in place now, he said. 
“In this time of budget cuts and everything, unless you can produce your own autonomy and you can produce your own income to sustain you, then you take that chance that something’ll happen to you,” Jones said. Rather than be reactive, legislators decided to be proactive, Jones said.
“Nothing that would change what Young (Memorial) would do can happen unless the legislature passes a statute to do that, and that statute would have to be authored by either Sen. Allain or me,” Jones said.

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