Hopes dashed for green job training

Thomas Garcia

College officials advised Mesalands Community College Board of Trustees that Mesalands will miss out on $250,000 in state funds from the New Mexico Legislature because a House committee tabled House Bill 622.

District 3 Rep. Ben Lujan introduced House Bill 622 in the 2009 sate Legislature House, which is also known as “The Green Jobs Bonding Act” and would have provided $25 million in grants to higher education institutions for green jobs training programs, said Phillip O. Barry, Mesalands president.

Mesalands was interested in the bill’s progress because it would have added support to the college’s latest green venture, its wind energy program, which trains students to become technicians in the wind energy field.

“It got past two House committees before it was tabled by a third committee,” Barry said. “Mesalands could have received $250,000 for green jobs tuition, child care and books.”

Barry said if the bill had passed, it would have authorized the issuance of Green Jobs Revenue Bonds, making appropriations to institutions offering these green course.

“Hopefully, the Speaker of the House will take another look at the bill next year and we will see it pass,” Barry said.

In other matters that came before the board:

• Three trustees took the oath of office. James P. Streetman (District 1), Ted. E. Peabody (Dstrict 3) and Liz Estrada (District 5), all incumbents who won their seats in the March 3 election, were sworn in during Tuesday night’s meeting.

• The board approved an increase in the 2009-2010 tuition.

Mesalands’ Dean of Administrative Services David Gallatin proposed an increase in cost per credit hour for residential tuition from $39.50 to $40.45 and for non-residents from $70.50 to $75.

“This is a standard operating procedure that all colleges address each year,” Gallatin said.