Idaho officials call for increased attention, efforts around creating community college opportunities

community-collegeHoping to replicate the success of the College of Western Idaho (CWI) in Nampa, Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter is encouraging more Idaho communities to tax themselves for higher education.

In his State of the State address in January, Otter said community colleges provide an affordable alternative for students and employers to meet their education and career-training needs.

He specifically highlighted CWI, which was approved by Ada and Canyon County voters in 2007.

Enrollment quickly tripled after the institution began offering academic classes in 2009, jumping from 1,200 the first semester to 3,600 the second. It now offers professional-technical, workforce development, adult and continuing education and academic courses to nearly 21,000 full- and part-time students.

Otter challenged other communities “to canvass their citizens and businesses on the value that can be added to their economic development and public enrichment efforts” by approving new community college taxing jurisdictions.

“We did it with CWI and we can do it again,” he said.

(Next page: How realistic are these community college goals?)

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