The Sun-Star has pointed out the relative lack of educational attainment in our area, and I am glad for this attention to the issue. The Jan. 12 editorial ("50K reasons for earning a college degree") noted that fewer than 10 percent of residents have earned a college degree. This is unacceptable, given the need for an educated workforce to attract new business and industry.
Merced College plays an important role in addressing this need. We educate those seeking to improve their work skills and we contribute materially to the technical expertise needed in the region. Our participation in a $19 million federal workforce education grant testifies to our role in this regional endeavor. We are also partnering with UC Merced in improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
The spring semester has started, and many classes have been restored with the passage of Proposition 30, which means seats are open for new students. Thanks to voters, and with cost reductions we are implementing, we are positioned to keep the doors open for those who need to improve their skills or broaden their horizons.