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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Vocational, training programs provide bright spots for colleges

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Monday, December 18, 2023   

While some college programs struggle to bring students back to the classroom, vocational and training programs are becoming a more important part of higher education.

Lower Columbia College in southwest Washington is looking to the Legislature to fund its new Center for Vocational and Transitional Studies building in the upcoming session.

The new building will house welding, fabrication and machining. Nolan Wheeler, vice president for administration with the college, said these are critical areas of education.

"Everything relies on machining, everything in our life, right?" said Wheeler. "Cars we drive, the food we eat goes through something that's been manufactured -- and particularly here in Southwest Washington, manufacturing's always been a vital part of our economic success."

The estimated cost for the new building is nearly $43 million.

While colleges and universities have seen a decline in enrollment - the construction trades, for instance - saw a 6.2% increase between 2020 and 2022, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Wheeler said the new building is needed for his college.

"It's going to be wonderful to have updated, modern space for our students," said Wheeler, "which will allow us to better serve our service district, including the local employers."

The new facility at Lower Columbia College will also include the headquarters for the college and career-preparation and information-technology programs.




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