While speaking at a training facility for the International Union of Operating Engineers in Ohio President Donald Trump stated, “I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means.”
The President visited Kirkwood nine months ago, touring ag-related programs, Diesel Mechanics in particular. I suspect he has visited other community colleges too. So, to not by now understand the breadth of educational/training programs and community services all community colleges offer is very disheartening. Yes, community colleges are complex; everything from high school completion to dozens of career/technical programs to college transfer degrees in multiple disciplines to short-term certificates for those seeking specific job skills, plus special interest classes for casual learners … All things to all people, but in a very good and productive way.
The President’s comment suggested he sees a difference between what community colleges provide and training that occurs in union facilities. At Kirkwood, and I suspect all other community colleges with close-by union training and apprenticeship facilities, instructional staff make certain they cooperate and share common instructional goals. This is a key reason why Kirkwood Community College is successful, working collaboratively for the good of all. Partnerships include K-12 school districts, local governments and economic development, business and industry and labor unions. It works far better when we all work together, but not when uninformed comments suggest otherwise.