A proud day for Shoreline Community College and its Professional Automotive Training Center
by Carol Edwards, publisher
On Saturday, Feb. 24, both President Bill Clinton and Microsoft's Bill Gates visited Shoreline Community College's Professional Automotive Training Center and went on record in front of 2,000 people about the critical need for job training and retraining in a changing job market.
Community colleges train people for jobs. Shoreline Community College has more than 50 professional/training programs. And their award-winning Professional Automotive Training Center, under the direction of Don Schultz, does it better than any other program in the United States, and last Saturday's historic visit celebrates that.
The event, tightly controlled, was more than a political visit for the college. It brought national, state, and local political and business leaders to the campus, putting a needed spotlight on the important role community colleges serve in retraining America.
It is important to know that the information revolution creates new jobs in new fields. With the realities of corporate downsizing, the replacement of workers by technology, and the changes in the way we do business, the community college network is one of the most effective ways to help with the transition.
Both "Bills" were able to see for themselves how the community college experience works by talking with a small group of students, instructors and business leaders in a Round Table discussion after they first arrived on the campus last Saturday. The students represented the experiences of many who have been laid off or were unemployed and found hope and jobs in retraining.
Later, in a crowded gymnasium, President Clinton and Bill Gates both spoke of the rapid development and impact of technology on jobs. They said it is clear that government, education, and business must work together to bring access and information to all people. Gates announced the donation of $10 million of computer software to the Washington State Community Colleges as a step in that direction.
President Clinton called for computers in every classroom and the empowerment of the people. Shoreline Community College is empowered by this recognition. President Gary Oertli and the trustees, Don Schultz, the Foundation Board, the instructors, students, and staff are to be commended on a job well done.
Shoreline built their Professional Automotive Training Center through a partnership with the public and private sector. It is important that the people in our community learn more about Shoreline's programs and the ways those programs can help them retrain for new jobs or improve their skills for their present work.
It is important for business to partner with Shoreline, as many already have, to provide up-to-date information and technology for retraining, and for our tax money to help government support job training.
I am proud to have served on Shoreline's Foundation Board for the past 10 years. I am proud that Shoreline has been recognized. And I am especially proud of Earl Mewharter, a retrained construction worker who, after a serious injury, studied in Shoreline's graphic arts program and today is this paper's production manager.