Such was the message from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, who on Tuesday evening joined area educators and others in touting the importance of putting more resources behind educational programs that grow tomorrow’s professionals and also strengthen the existing work force.
Dozens of people attended the community forum at BGSU Firelands, which was hosted by the college, in partnership with EHOVE and the Erie County Economic Development Corp.
The forum panelists who joined Kaptur: Peter Zaehringer, of Erie County Economic Development Corporation; William Balzer, dean of BGSU Firelands; Sharon Mastroianni, superintendent of EHOVE Career Center; and Rachael Cummings, studentgovernment president at BGSU Firelands.
Debbie Nickoloff, of Milan, said she liked what the group had to say.
“I heard a lot of excellent suggestions and potential opportunities,” Nickoloff said. “I am a strong supporter of higher education, whether college or career centers”
In a nutshell, the hourslong forum showcased the many educational programs that are available to train workers. The end goals, of course, are to help people find goodpaying jobs and help area businesses develop a robust work force.
Kaptur, in the throes of an election year, also stressed the importance of driving down the cost of education.
One audience member asked this question: What do the priorities of the U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., budget indicate about investing in higher education?
“It would cut one-third across all accounts, from Pell and work investment funding,” Kaptur said. “These are severe cuts to programs that Americans and the middle class depend on. It is a budget we should be aware of because it will leave casualties everywhere from students to retraining”
She also stressed the importance of voters educating themselves on candidates’ positions. People should choose candidates who share their values, whether it’s in education, work force funding or unemployment benefits.