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Legislative Advocacy

Bellingham Technical College’s office of the president is responsible for bringing together campus members including, BTC Board of Trustees, Associated Student Body, Administrators, Deans and other constituents to advocate and influence public policy and opinions about BTC and the CTC system priorities and challenges. These participants uphold BTC’s vision and mission by sharing the college's accomplishments, and highlighting BTC's long-standing dedication to the community through education, which strengthens the colleges connectivity, reputation and perception within the community and beyond.

Our dedicated legislative advocacy members work to build and maintain relationships and raise awareness of emerging issues and opportunities by:

Advocating for BTC and the community and technical college system by maintaining and building relationships with the Governor’s office, legislators, elected officials from BTC’s service district, and partner agencies and organizations.

Supporting the legislative agenda for the community and technical college system.

Engaging in legislative outreach and engagement by connecting with and hosting elected officials, staff and other key business and civic stakeholders virtually or on campus.

Our areas legislative districts are 40, and 42 -- two of forty-nine districts in Washington state for representation in state legislature.

The 40th district's legislators are state representatives Debra Lekanoff and Alex Ramel. The state senator is Liz Lovelett.

The 42nd Legislative Districts current legislators are State Senator Doug Ericksen, State Representatives Alicia Rule and Sharon Shewmake.

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Latest News

Facts about Bellingham Technical College can be viewed in the BTC 2021 Field Guide

Our Students
  • Total headcount: 4,474
  • Total full-time equivalent (FTE): 1,946
  • Full-time:58%
  • Part-time: 42%
  • Students of color: 19%
  • Workforce Education: 75%
The first week of February was CTC Advocacy Week!

BTC’s ASBTC Executives met with our local legislators and advocated for: increasing college affordability and financial assistance for CTC students; increasing resources for mental health counseling; and expanding the working child connection care program. We met with Senator Liz Lovelett’s staff and with Representative Alicia Rule. It was a whole new world to participate in Advocacy work remotely, but we still made connections, supported our students, and strengthened our relationships with our local legislators. BTC Interim President Walter Hudsick also attended our meeting with Representative Alicia Rule.

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BTC Priorities

2021-23 Operating and Capital Budget Requests

Legislative Districts: 40, 42

Overview

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) has trained students for in-demand, high-paying careers for more than 60 years. We provide hands-on, industry-led instruction in programs such as advanced manufacturing, engineering, nursing and accounting.

BTC’s engineering technology programs are in high demand by students and by local and regional business and industry. We developed two applied bachelor of science degrees to offer additional pathways for our engineering and technology graduates to move into higher level and managerial positions.

BTC is primed to help people of every age and background survive this economic crisis and thrive on the other side, with better jobs than they had before. New high school graduates, laid-off workers, seasoned employees, future university students — all types of students count on BTC to reinvent themselves. And as a technical college that serves Washingtonians hardest hit by this crisis, we are key to creating a stronger and more inclusive economy.

Meet Tamara Holmes

Tamara Holmes emigrated to the United States from Russia about five years ago. Tamara realized her experience in journalism and publishing were not easily transferable to a new country. She enrolled in BTC, where she learned English language skills and received support services through a program called TRIO. Tamara earned an associate degree in dental assisting and is now enrolled in the dental hygiene program.

Legislative Priority: Protect Investments

On behalf of students like Tamara Holmes, we urge the Legislature to avoid cutting higher education funding at a time when people and employers need it the most. With investments through the Workforce Education Investment Act, our college has moved forward with the Guided Pathways reform movement to increase completion rates, retained and hired more faculty to teach high-demand programs like nursing, and strengthened student advising and support services. Now is the time to maintain this positive momentum, not return to the devastating budget cuts of the past.

We are also asking the Legislature to make targeted investments in technology, worker training and retraining, and high-demand programs sought by students and employers.

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ASB Priorities

The following issues were developed by CTC students. This agenda represents the issues Washington State Community & Technical College students have identified as their highest priorities for advocacy during the upcoming year.

Washington State Community & Technical College Student Association
2021 Legislative Session Agenda:

Increase College Affordability and Financial Assistance For CTC Students

College affordability means more than paying for tuition. Additional factors such as textbook costs, housing, food, and utility bills impacts students’ ability to attend college. While grateful for this resource, the Workforce Education Investment Act is estimated to help 110,000 students, this legislation was passed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The new economic phenomenon brought on by the pandemic, jeopardizes resources available to students. A high school diploma is no longer enough to give a person equal access to quality employment without a post-secondary education. To meet this demand, every resident of Washington State should have an equitable opportunity to pursue higher education. This makes our workforce more competitive and strengthens our State’s economy. The legislature should expand access to in-state tuition programs and adopt an innovative model that supports academic completion for CTC students, specifically, the Workforce Education Investment Act.

Increase Resources for Mental Health Counseling

Anxiety, depression, or mental health other conditions complicates a student’s college experience. At some CTC colleges, over 50% of the cases served by the Disability Support Services office relate to mental health. Given the number of students with mental health issues, mental health counseling available at CTC’s is inadequate. CTC students need access to increased mental health services while enrolled. We ask for funding for mental health treatment so colleges can do more to serve students with mental health needs. We propose that the Legislature increase the spending for community and technical colleges to a rate of $6 million, allowing each college to have a counselor to student ratio of at least 1,250:1.

Expanding the Working Connections Child Care Program

Lack of access to childcare is a problem in our state and may contribute to inequity among students with children. COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem. Many students struggle to find affordable childcare options, creating a barrier to beginning or finishing their education. The Working Connections Child Care Program helps low-income families pay for childcare. We ask for an expansion of the Working Child Connection Care Program, to give more families access to affordable childcare, allowing students to further their education and careers.

Issue Exploration

In addition to the legislative issues noted above, CTC students identified the following seven (7) issues, in no particular order, that association members could explore at the local level. (1) supporting part- and full-time faculty: increasing funding to hire full-time faculty, (2) funding Strengthening CTC training: saving the grant, (3) Homelessness in higher education: Support 22SB 5800 for colleges to support homeless students, (4) Increase the WASFA assistance for students, (5) Washington College Grant: Increasing funding or keeping the same funding level, (6) developing tech equity for CTC students: increase funding to all CTC’s and (7) textbook affordability: Pass HB 1470.
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