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Editorial: A jumpstart coming for local education, business

It started in the 1990s in a small, vacated Pizza Hut building on North Main Street. By last year, the Chippewa Valley Technical College, with its own 20,000- square foot facility at 500 S. Wasson Lane, had nearly 1,200 full- and part-time students with programs at 100% capacity in administrative professional; business management; human resources; marketing management; nursing; nursing assistant; criminal justice; building construction; and liberal arts.

As the Journal reported on the front page last week, there are already plans to expand this relatively new campus and add to the diverse range of programs now offered for area students, those young, old and in between.

Leading the sea of change for River Falls CVTC will be Beth Hein. She has an extensive background working at the CVTC main campus and headquarters in Eau Claire. Before coming to the 11-county CVTC district, Hein worked in the private sector in western Wisconsin.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are key engines propelling this fast-growing part of the state. The population growth here is fueling the CVTC expansion drive at the River Falls campus.

New administrator Hein will chart the direction of that expansion based on feedback and partnerships with area businesses, high schools, UW-River Falls and the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College/New Richmond campus. John Kleven, the former River Falls CVTC administrator, has been asked to lead the effort to work with business and industry on how the local technical college can better meet their training needs.

Partnerships with school districts include having high school students earn technical college credits for completing certain classes and for CVTC students to have certain of their credits transfer to UW-River Falls.

This shared educational vision is exciting and encouraging. It bodes well for maintaining and even improving a highly trained workforce and, by extension, for the area's business climate, its outlook for desirable jobs, and for the strength and cohesion of our community.

More developments are expected later this year that will define CVTC's expansion, both of its campus and slate of programs. The news as it stands now is very positive. We should all look forward to hearing the details as they emerge.

Taking aim at guns

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: If America's gun policies were up to you, what would you do? Early results:

--Stay true to the 2nd Amendment, leave everything the way it is and do better enforcing existing gun laws, 41.7%.

--Outlaw automatic weapons and high-capacity ammo magazines/Beef up background checks, which would be mandatory, and include a mental-health evaluation, (for both of these) 20.8%

-- Ban all guns except for military and police, 12.5%

--Arm and train everyone, especially for protection at schools, 4.2%.

Add your vote by going to