Opinion: Measures I and J are investments in our community

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Our local San Jose City and Evergreen Valley community colleges have long been an asset in our community.

As UC and CSU costs continue to rise, thousands of local students are locked out of higher education. The California Community College system is the state’s most cost-effective system of education and quality job training. San Jose City and Evergreen Valley Colleges provide affordable, quality education to local students – to set them on a clear path on their way to a four-year degree or gain the specialized skills needed to be competitive in the workforce and obtain good-paying jobs.

In this once in a generation election, we have the opportunity to invest in our local economic recovery, save families thousands of dollars on college tuition, and advance equity in education and the workforce by expanding opportunities to low-income students and students of color. This is why I’m supporting Measures I and J on our local ballot this year.

In recent years, I have had the honor of working closely with San Jose-Evergreen Community College District as it worked in partnership with Milpitas Unified School District to build an extension campus in Milpitas. The San Jose-Evergreen Milpitas Extension is now operating and serving thousands of local residents each year with college classes and other services. The Extension also hosts many community events at its Escuela Parkway location.

The partnership between San Jose-Evergreen and Milpitas Unified is precisely the type of innovative educational programming needed throughout our local communities, and Measures I and J will provide the funding necessary to bring more innovative higher-ed solutions to fruition.

California Community Colleges are underfunded. Without adequate funding from the state, San Jose City and Evergreen Valley Colleges need local funding – training for the jobs of tomorrow requires state-of-the-art labs and classrooms, with adequate access to technology and high-quality faculty. Measure I and J together will address these needs.

Voting yes on Measures I and J is more important than ever for our local recovery and economy. As we all plan for the road to recovery from the pandemic, we must make sure students have equal opportunities to access online learning, no matter what their circumstances.

Measures I and J ensure our colleges have the technology and resources necessary to expand online education, retain high-quality faculty, support critical job training programs that serve as a pipeline to local employers, and keep local college education affordable through the economic recovery.

Over the long-term, Measures I and J ensure that classrooms and educational facilities that help students learn new skills and find better paying jobs in business, biotechnology, nursing, healthcare, engineering, and other local high-demand careers will be upgraded and expanded.

For local students, their families, and our local economic recovery please join me, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, state Sen.Jim Beall, state Assemblymen Ash Karla and Evan Low, and Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez in voting yes on Measures I and J. Let’s keep local college education and job training affordable and accessible for all students and invest in our local economy today.

Vice Mayor Bob Nuñez was elected to the Milpitas City Council in 2016 after having previously served on the Milpitas Unified Board of Education and following a 40-year career dedicated to education.