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End Stigma: Community and technical colleges deserve respect

Imagine living in a world where you were unable to understand the value (both financial and academic) of two-year, community and technical colleges. It seems there are some who do, and attach an entirely unjustified stigma to the institutions. Of course, we here in the Mid-Ohio Valley see community or technical colleges as the wonderful opportunities they are.

Last week, The Associated Press reported an initiative called #EndCCStigma has been adopted nationally. It was the brainchild of Steve Robinson, president of Owens Community College in Perrysburg, Ohio.

“There really is a stigma against community colleges,” Robinson told the AP. “It’s just ignorance.”

Indeed it is pure ignorance. On both sides of the Ohio River, institutions such as West Virginia University at Parkersburg or Washington State Community College are saving students — both new high school graduates and older adults — tons of money. Most can live at home while obtaining degrees or certificates that enable them to pursue good-paying careers or, if they choose, go on to receive four-year degrees from other institutions.

Most of them receive very good educations that set them on solid career paths, and leave them with a fraction of the debt faced by students who choose four-year institutions. (Many of them attain their certificates, associates degrees or a massive head start on their bachelor’s degrees with no debt at all.)

It is crazy, frankly, to view two-year colleges as second-class institutions. Just ask the many local men and women who have benefited from them, sometimes using their educations to earn paychecks that would be the envy of some graduates of four-year colleges.

Here’s hoping Robinson’s effort makes a difference.

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