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MATC deserves priority this fall
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MATC deserves priority this fall

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Madison Area Technical College is on the front lines of putting people back to work and helping others keep their jobs in this challenging economy.

The community college is training — and re-training — tens of thousands of workers in south-central Wisconsin each year. And a slew of them are well past the age of traditional students.

That’s why MATC’s request for a $133.7 million building referendum deserves support this fall — despite its sticker shock and property tax impact of $33 more per year on a $241,000 home, which is average for Madison.

That impact can’t be easily dismissed when piled on top of all the other requests from local governments and K-12 school districts across Madison College’s 12-county region.

Yet the college’s referendum deserves priority this election because it will get more unemployed, underemployed and low-skilled people off of waiting lists and into the job pipeline in key fields where workers are in demand.

That includes the health care industry. The biggest piece of the MATC referendum is $43 million for a health services center and clinic that would eliminate waiting lists each year for hundreds of aspiring students in health fields including nursing.

Other pieces of the plan will expand and upgrade learning space for students seeking jobs in law enforcement, advanced manufacturing, science and technology.

Madison College hasn’t held a building referendum in more than 35 years. And it can borrow money for as little as 1 percent interest.

Moreover, the impact will truly be regional. Madison and regional campuses in Fort Atkinson, Watertown, Reedsburg and Portage are all part of the plan to rebuild and improve classrooms and labs.

That still makes this referendum a tough sell, given the slow recovery and stubborn unemployment.

But no unit of government is in a better position to address those needs than the local community college.

Vote “yes” for MATC on Nov. 2.

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