Published in the Daily Breeze
During these difficult economic times, it’s important to recognize and support the valuable assets that our community has to offer. California State University, Dominguez Hills – the South Bay’s four-year public university – is one of those bright spots. As a model “urban university,” our diverse student body is composed of people from all walks of life, from recent high school graduates to midlife career-changers and beyond. We function as a launching pad for individuals to start their college careers or in job transition for those who are looking for career enhancement and support. This year we were proud to serve almost 14,000 students who will go on to lead, innovate, and inspire throughout the global economy.
Yet as we look forward to the new academic year, California’s dire budget situation is certain to have a massive impact on our university. The governor’s latest budget proposal calls for $584 million in cuts to the CSU system, which means cuts of millions of dollars for CSU Dominguez Hills at a time when our state funding has already been significantly reduced. Even though many local residents are now hoping to return to school, CSU Dominguez Hills may have difficulty getting the funding it needs to serve more students.
Over the next few months and years, CSU Dominguez Hills will be looking to its constituents in the South Bay for partnerships, collaborations and increased private support. Of course, it is difficult to ask for support at a time when just about every educational institution and nonprofit organization needs assistance. But by supporting CSU Dominguez Hills, the greater South Bay community will see both short-term and long-term dividends from a more educated workforce and a stronger local economy.
One of the ways that CSU Dominguez Hills is committed to serving the South Bay is by meeting some of the most urgent needs of the local region. To address the critical shortage of nurses, we have added an accelerated full-time pre-licensure master’s degree program for students seeking to become registered nurses. We are also building a state-of-the-art clinical-skills lab for the School of Nursing, complete with critical-care bed units and human simulators.
Additionally, CSU Dominguez Hills is the first federally authorized Occupational Safety and Health Administration training site in the Los Angeles area. We provide safety and health certification for critical South Bay work sites – from the port to the oil refineries to LAX. Beyond that, we have a wide range of programs tailored to Southern California’s hospitality and entertainment industries, thanks to our close relationship with the Home Depot Center right here on our campus.
We are also proud to be part of a national movement toward reliance on higher education as an economic development strategy. As President Barack Obama told Congress earlier this year: “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a prerequisite.” And increasingly, our South Bay supporters feel the same. We feel the excitement building for our university as we continue to meet record fundraising goals in spite of the difficult economy.
Looking ahead, we are asking our local businesses and enterprises to continue to build partnerships with us to develop the work force of the South Bay. It is our mission to provide access to affordable, high-quality education in the South Bay. And despite – or perhaps because of – these difficult economic times, we pledge to continue to uphold that commitment.