Education equals opportunity - and Alabama's Two Year College System Chancellor wants to make sure laid off workers have the skills to get back into the workforce. "We want people to take advantage of our services," says Chancellor Bradley Byrne.
Byrne says his office is ready to do whatever it takes to get those who need jobs into a state school. Two year schools wave half of the tuition for all Alabama workers who lose their job because of a plant closing. Byrne said he told all of the Two Year College Presidents, "If someone walks in our door and needs help, we can't let the fact they lost their job and they don't have money be a barrier."
Byrne says enrollment is up 5%. While enrollment is up, funding is down. The state slashed 7% from the Two Year System's budget. Proration will mean more cuts, but Byrne vows not to raise tuition. "In fact, we are going to try figure out a way to get (laid off workers) through the program without it costing them," he says.
He could be forced to make cuts in other areas like sports and put plans that can wait on hold. While some plans may be on hold, the chancellor says two year colleges can't stop what they're doing in the classroom because the state's economy depends on it. "It's the heart and soul of what we have to do over the next couple of years to help our state get out of this and we are going to do it," he stated.