The California State Student Association (CSSA) Board of Directors revealed its educational campaign “Made in the CSU,” that will educate the public and the California legislature of the economic impact the CSU has in contributing to California’s workforce.
Miles Jason Nevin, executive director of CSSA, said the goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the value of the CSU for the state economy and to garner public support for reinvestment in public higher education.
“Without a doubt, CSU students and, therefore, all Californians, are being harmed by the consistent and dramatic cuts to the budgets of our states institutions of public higher education, specifically the CSU and the UC,” Nevin said.
Emeritus professor of Economics Daniel R. Blake said educating students is the answer to a lot of California’s economic problems.
“The state needs to try to accommodate its students and get them graduated, otherwise we will keep cutting back students and they’ll have to go to another state then we’re cutting our own economic throat,” Blake said.
Nevin said the result of the state legislature slashing our budget by about $1 billion over the last decade is going to be dramatic.
“We will graduate less people and the state will have less qualified workers in the areas of teaching, nursing, engineering, agriculture, tourism and hospitality and criminal justice,” Nevin said. “This, of course, adversely affects the state economy.”
Blake said California will not have the growth it once had in the past if things do not change.
“We need to figure out a way to refresh our skills in the workforce and keep students graduating otherwise the labor will go elsewhere,” Blake said.
Nevin said he wants the public to understand how much of an impact CSU makes on our economy.
“The workforce statistics being used in this campaign specifically represent the impact the CSU system has in California,” Nevin said. “CSU graduates tend to remain within the state following graduation, thereby having a significant effect on the overall economy. A nonpartisan economic study was done, and found that for every $1 the state invests in a CSU student, over $4 will be returned to the state over time. That’s a smart investment, and that’s why we’re conducting this education campaign.”
Blake said California attracts a lot of the high tech companies that require a high tech workforce.
“California’s work force demands more educated people then we are producing and consequently they have to look elsewhere, so they hire people from Michigan or Indiana,” Blake said.
Steven Dixon, 35, a senior majoring in Economics at Humboldt State said he has not been able to find a job for the last two years.
“Quit giving money to the banks and large companies and start bailing out homeowners and working class people,” Dixon said. “I’m worried. Our political system is toxic and seems to only make things worse and the gerrymandered districts won’t help us put out the politicians until at least 2012.”
Dixon said he knows many graduates who still do not have a job. He said he is considering leaving California and said the solution is time and investment in the middle class.
Dixon said it is important to know that we also have an upcoming shortage of college graduates, which means job losses and tax losses for the state. This is why even in tough times we need to keep the CSU fully funded.
“We spend $45,000 per prisoner in this state and only $6,000 per college student. Which one is the better use of limited funding,” Dixon said.
“I already am a big fan of the Midwest, having lived there earlier in my life. There are more opportunities there and the cost of living is less,” Dixon said.
Dixon said he is scared about the availability of jobs
“Many of my medical services have been cut year after year,” Dixon said. “I have lost my dental, vision, insurance and had my share of cost increased each year while my disability payments have not.”
Nevin said educating a diverse population is crucial to the CSU’s mission.
“The CSU is a leader in providing access to all qualified individuals, and by doing it is effectively meeting the higher education needs of underrepresented groups in California,” Nevin said. “As the people’s university system, this commitment helps the CSU system to accurately reflect the demographics of our diverse state.”