ITEP Warns Of Disaster for “At-Risk” students of California budget cuts

ITEP high schoolers get hands-on experience in real world challenges from sailing, transportation and logistics.

ITEP high schoolers get hands-on experience in real world challenges from sailing, transportation and logistics. (photo courtesy http://www.itepinc.com)

International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) have fallen victim to proposed state budget cuts to higher education, in what some say
bites the hand that feeds you.

“This sends the wrong message to students we have been working on for years to stay in school and get a good education to obtain a good job,” Carol Rowen, ITEP CEO. Rowen is upset and worries about California State University system proposal to shut the doors on qualified students due to a worsening state budget crisis.

“We have been working for nearly a decade to help the workforce find better educated graduating students, and this idea to turn away qualified students, destroys our community of people at risk. This spells disaster, especially when the market turns around.”

Rowen believes that minority and low-income groups will suffer the most by the cuts, which could amount to a 10 percent drop in freshman enrollment. CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said, “

The CSU plans calls for drastically cutting the nation’s largest 23-campus system by some 10,000 students of the near half million (450,000) enrolled students for the 2009-2010 academic year. Rowen believes it will not move deadlines up for applications, but it will raise the academic bar for freshman at some of the most sought after campuses.

ITEP, a 501C nonprofit, offers economically disadvantaged students educational opportunities and experiences not offered in their schools or neighborhoods. ITEP introduce economically disadvantaged students in high school to careers in international trade, transportation and logistics.

“Our programs assess the needs of a high school and the surrounding transportation, logistics and industry needs,” explained Rowen. “Schools of which ITEP has worked with in the past have needed to boost graduation rates, decrease dropout rates, and enhance standardized test scores. Even those students who did graduate from these struggling schools rarely had opportunities or motivation to pursue further education or employment. ITEP helps design programs to fulfill those needs by boosting education, work skills and work attitudes.

Rowen contends that the trade, transportation and logistics industries suffer from a shortage of qualified workers along the hubs and arteries of international trade. “The workforce complains that they do not have enough educated or trained applicants to filled job openings, yet trying to balance the Cal State system on the backs of the disadvantaged sends the wrong signal to kids promised an education and career,” she said

The CSU Chancellor anticipates $66 million in mid-year budget cuts, and further cuts for 2009-2010. This year the cutoff date for many campuses is Nov. 30, and all colleges will stop taking applications by March 1st. Some have moved up deadlines into December.

For more information about ITEP visit: www.itepinc.org/

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