Tunxis Community College’s Value Far Outweighs Its Cost to the State

June 20, 2017

As the Administration and legislators deal with the $5 billion budget deficit projected over the next two years, we know that cuts must be part of the solution. These cuts are likely to be spread throughout the budget, meaning we either can’t keep or provide as much funding as we’d like to some programs.

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, in particular, is facing some difficult budgeting decisions. Some of the proposals for cuts include closing some of the state’s community colleges. Tunxis Community College should not be one of those.

Tunxis is located just across the Bristol town line in Farmington and has a satellite location in our city’s downtown. Its closure would have a tremendous negative impact on Bristol and its residents.

Each year, more than 5,000 students of various ages take classes at Tunxis, and more than 36 percent of those students come from Bristol and New Britain. Since 2000, the school has provided customized on- and off-site training to more than 40,000 employees in central Connecticut.

Tunxis is one of the larger continuing education operations of the 12 community colleges in the state and plays an important role in helping to reduce the state’s critical shortage of health care workers. Nearly 100 percent of the more than 2,000 certified nursing assistants who graduated from Tunxis found employment in their field. The school also boasts a 100 percent pass rate on state licensing exams for dental hygiene students.

We’ve all heard the statistics that workers who receive an education beyond high school earn tens of thousands of dollars more each year than workers who only have a high school diploma or GED. Community colleges like Tunxis provide the most affordable option toward earning a degree. In fact, 74 percent of all Connecticut community college students are working, low-income, and supporting a family. Tunxis is a pathway to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Tunxis also provides a direct economic impact on the community. Students from other areas of the state who attend Tunxis spend money in the local community. The college also helps local businesses by providing training for existing workers and helping future workers learn the skills local businesses need.

Shuttering Tunxis Community College could do real damage to the greater Bristol region and is something I will fight against. I hope the powers that be will recognize how its value far outweighs its cost.

State Senator Henri Martin represents the 31st District, which includes the communities of Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, and Thomaston.