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School officials discuss State of the Union and focus on community colleges

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

HERKIMER and UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Herkimer County Community College and Mohawk Valley Community College are happy with President Obama's mention of community colleges in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

They say his speech validates what community colleges, like them, have been offering students for years.

"It's all about access, it's about cost, productivity, and that's what community colleges really do - they really do give access to people from all walks of life," says HCCC President Dr. Ann Marie Murray.

MVCC President Randy Van Wagoner, says he likes the President's support for community college's job training programs, as well.

"I really like his points about supporting work force training and re-training and having community colleges as the access point for that, but also his comments on entrepreneurship and small business development, which is where so many job opportunities really lie," says VanWagoner.

Both college officials said they thought the President put forth new ideas for community college's job training programs and creating partnerships between them and businesses - something that the two local community colleges are excited for and say will benefit industry just as much as the students

"It is the way for industry to get cost effective training, targeted cost effective training for specific skills that they need," says Dr. Murray.

"I'd love to see the college help bring this vision to light right here in the Mohawk Valley with helping support small businesses," says VanWagoner. "I think the important part is to make everyone aware that the kids that are out there where the jobs are now...and making sure they have the skills set to get those jobs and be successful."

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