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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Vocational, training programs provide bright spots for colleges

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Monday, December 18, 2023   

While some college programs struggle to bring students back to the classroom, vocational and training programs are becoming a more important part of higher education.

Lower Columbia College in southwest Washington is looking to the Legislature to fund its new Center for Vocational and Transitional Studies building in the upcoming session.

The new building will house welding, fabrication and machining. Nolan Wheeler, vice president for administration with the college, said these are critical areas of education.

"Everything relies on machining, everything in our life, right?" said Wheeler. "Cars we drive, the food we eat goes through something that's been manufactured -- and particularly here in Southwest Washington, manufacturing's always been a vital part of our economic success."

The estimated cost for the new building is nearly $43 million.

While colleges and universities have seen a decline in enrollment - the construction trades, for instance - saw a 6.2% increase between 2020 and 2022, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Wheeler said the new building is needed for his college.

"It's going to be wonderful to have updated, modern space for our students," said Wheeler, "which will allow us to better serve our service district, including the local employers."

The new facility at Lower Columbia College will also include the headquarters for the college and career-preparation and information-technology programs.




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