Locally, the April 4th elections are largely about education. One key race is for the Rock Valley College Board of Trustees. Electing the right candidates can define the school.
Looking at Rock Valley College (RVC), it is easiest to understand the issues with a few key facts. RVC has two primary roles it plays in the community; it might be more than that too. As a community college RVC enables students to confirm their future goals and directions, take common course requirements and then progress to a four year program elsewhere. It’s common for RVC students to find themselves at universities like the University of Illinois and Loyola University, or regional colleges like Beloit College and Carroll College. RVC also plays a role for local industries providing training for those who may not seek a two or four year degree. For them, learning machining or welding skills, CNC machine programming, quality control methodology and such is their key to the well paying factory jobs found locally.
In the recent past, the RVC board has been very focused upon this latter role. It is an important role, both for the students and for local industries.
Consider though that roughly 70% of RVC students are in the programs that will lead them to an associate’s degree and onto a path to a four year institution. A loss of focus on this area has led to some loss of professors and teachers and the resulting loss of course content. Long term this may lead to a lessening of RVC offerings and lower value to those interested in education not aimed at industrial careers.
Two of those running for the RVC Board are Magda Mohamed and Ricardo Montoya Picazo. Both are committed to ensuring that Rock Valley College maintains its abilities for all of the students in the area, not just those seeking an industrial future. Both recognize the value of the programs that lead to educational opportunities elsewhere.
Further, RVC can be more than simply an education or industrial institution. By offering continuing education classes, RVC can engage with seniors as well as community members who seek greater skills other than a formal certificate or degree program.
Having RVC support local industries helps to bring jobs to our local economy. Having RVC also provides a strong educational and community path that can strengthen our community for all of us. Supporting Magda Mohamed and Ricardo Montoya Picazo when voting can help ensure that future.