Letter to the Editor: A little history on vocational education

I too love vocational and technical classes and loved the way “junior colleges” had so many courses that were popular among the local public. But the issue is a great deal more complex than blaming the current FRC president or board.

At a time before president Trutna was hired, I was helping to set up the culinary arts program for FRC (which neither previous letter mentioned), I learned that the state governing body of the community colleges had decided to de-emphasize vocational programs. “Success” was being measured by how many students went on to get 4 year degrees and it was considered some kind of waste of taxes to have lifelong learning classes for the community.

I found myself trying to find a way to convince students that they needed a degree in an area that a certificate would fulfill their needs for a steady, good paying job.

At about the same time, I got a degree in one of the vocational areas that disappeared when the main instructor retired. But the state and federal prognosticators of future employment trends were saying that Administrative Assistants would soon be completely unemployable as every executive could do it all on his/her computer.


I hope that the governing board of the community colleges has changed direction again because I think these colleges function best when they serve the entire community through lifelong learning  and vocational programs along with degree programs that lead to 4 year degrees and higher. I just thought a little history and clarification might be more useful than handing out blame.

Darrah Hopper

Chester, CA