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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Community, Technical College Enrollment in WA Plummets During Pandemic

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022   

Enrollment at Washington state's community and technical colleges has dropped sharply over the pandemic, and the state hopes it can entice students to return.

Between fall 2019 and 2021, the number of students decreased 24%, a similar trend to states across the country because of COVID-19.

Jan Yoshiwara, executive director of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, said factors such as fewer child care options, job loss or hours cut back at work have hit community and college students especially hard.

"All of those things affect people who financially don't have much of a cushion," Yoshiwara pointed out. "That is the bulk of the students that we serve in the community and technical college sector."

Yoshiwara also noted about 40% of enrollment is in technical education, which had hands-on training shut down because of the pandemic.

She noted it is also unfortunate because there are fewer students in higher education just as employers are looking for more workers.

"We have a challenging situation here where our colleges have programs that are ready to turn out more skilled workers into the economy and employers are ready to hire them," Yoshiwara observed. "But we don't have enough people enrolling in those programs."

Yoshiwara emphasized community and technical colleges are avenues for social and economic mobility, but added enrollment numbers are not going to come back on their own.

"We need to do some work to reach out to people to remove the economic and life-circumstance barriers that people are experiencing right now," Yoshiwara contended. "Because I don't think we're just going to go back to 2019 without us trying some different things."


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