Published: Nov 06, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 05, 2011 04:42 PM
Durham Technical Community College is celebrating 50 years of providing superior educational and training services to the residents of Durham.
The former Durham Industrial Education Center has evolved to become a comprehensive community college - providing tens of thousands of Durham residents with the educational and technical skills needed to help advance their careers as productive workers and citizens and offering one of the best university transfer programs in the state. With the benefit of the knowledge they received at our community college, Durham Tech graduates have gone on to successful educational careers at UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, North Carolina Central and Duke universities, as well as numerous institutions of higher education in North Carolina and across the nation.
Durham Tech is well known for its partnerships with the Durham Public Schools, some of which, such as the Gateway to College Program with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have been recognized nationally as among the best. Also, through its partnerships with local businesses and corporations in the Research Triangle, Durham Tech has provided the training programs that have strengthened the economic fabric of Durham and provided employees with the skills needed to compete for good jobs.
On Tuesday, Durham residents have an opportunity to invest in the educational and economic future of our community.
Recognizing the impact of a 1 percent decrease in the state's sales tax that had been used locally to help fund pre-K programs, the Durham Public Schools and Durham Tech, the Durham County Board of Commissioners has authorized a proposed 1/4 cent sales and use tax for education that would generate some $9.2 million annually to help support educational quality and opportunity in our community from pre-K to college. If voters approve this sales and use tax for education, Durham Tech is scheduled to receive $825,000 annually to help expand financial aid opportunities -- through work-study programs and grants -- for hundreds of graduates of Durham Public Schools who qualify for financial aid, including those in Durham who can benefit from the training programs.
Durham Tech is stepping up to make the high-quality education available to qualified graduates. This financial aid will help reduce the tuition burden for hundreds of students. And one of the best parts is that since everyone who purchases goods or services in Durham will pay the 1/4-cent sales tax, the million plus visitors who come to Durham to enjoy our educational, cultural and athletic programs will help subsidize the educational benefits our students will receive at all levels of education--pre-K, Durham Public Schools and Durham Technical Community College.
I urge all residents to invest in the future of Durham's young people and to vote yes on the 1/4 cent sales and use tax for education and the 1/2 cent transportation tax on Tuesday.
John F. Burness is the vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of Durham Technical Community College.