HCC vital to economic future

Op Ed, 03/23/2009

I am a student at Housatonic Community College and would like to express how important the school has been for me and my quest for higher education. I have found the teaching staff there to be excellent, very comprehensive and always accessible to students.

The multiple class listings allow anybody a chance to attend HCC and still continue to work, a necessity now and always. The facility is greatly enhanced with the addition of Beacon Hall, an exciting expansion providing opportunity to educate the growing number of attendees. Most important, Housatonic offers college education at an affordable price, giving students a realistic option to earn a degree with nationally transferable credits.

In addition to being a student at Housatonic, I am also a proud voter in Connecticut. I would like to acknowledge the commitment our elected officials have shown towards HCC throughout the years. I am personally grateful for their support, as it takes the efforts of many to propel the important work being done at HCC. I respectfully ask all legislators to consider how vital it is to continue the same level of support going forward; I feel the college is a resource that will be sought more than ever in the near future.

With unemployment rates rising and many competing for few jobs, untold scores of people are seeking viable options for continued education. Additionally, President Obama has made it clear that he considers it every citizen's responsibility to earn an associate's degree at minimum. Housatonic is sure to see an increased enrollment, and I know the college wants to continue offering the high level of education it currently provides.

I understand cuts in the state budget must be made, but can we afford to be shortsighted and not invest in the future of Connecticut? A worker with a college degree will contribute more to the state in the long run by earning a high wage and paying more taxes over a lifetime, returning the investment to the coffers.

This letter is based on my personal experience at Housatonic and expresses only my opinion. Though I will be finished at HCC in May, I want to ensure the next wave of students is afforded the same quality education I enjoyed. I ask all students, past and present, who share my sentiment to write to your elected state officials and explain how HCC is important to you. This is not merely a Bridgeport issue; I have classmates from all along the shoreline and deep into the Valley, so everybody needs to get involved. Be sure to write to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, as well. Do not underestimate the power of the written word.

On a side note, I thank the Connecticut Post for its generosity in providing stacks of newspapers daily to Housatonic. It is great to see so many people reading and enjoying a good, old-fashioned newspaper in the morning. It's much appreciated.

Bill Sotire