Friday, July 6, 2012

U.S. Senator Patty Murray visits Edmonds Community College

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray visited Edmonds Community College on July 6.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray with Kaileah Pond
in the materials science lab.
She met with I-BEST students at the college's materials science lab. Senator Murray is working to reinstate a provision in the federal government's Higher Education Act which allows students without GEDs or high school diplomas the "Ability to Benefit" and qualify for financial aid.

This provision affects I-BEST students who may be working on GEDs and diplomas while they also take career-training courses at the college.

Senator Murray got hands on experience in the college's materials science lab working with material used in the manufacture of Boeing's 787 jets. Materials science students Daniel Bernier, Richard Harrison, Kaileah Pond, and Steve Roesli worked with the senator and shared their experiences in the college's I-BEST and materials science programs.

The students are all working toward degrees and certificates in materials science with plans to work in the manufacturing industry. Each relied on the I-BEST program and financial aid to help them get started on their college career. Respectively, their challenges include: a recent operation for a brain tumor, an injury which required a career change, single motherhood, and studying as a deaf student.

"I-BEST was a big help. It was an opportunity to jump right into materials science at the level of education I was at," said Bernier, who plans to earn an AAS-T Degree in Materials Science Technology, continue on for his bachelor's degree, and who would like to work for Boeing.

Senator Murray also spoke with college instructors including Paul Hynds and Ross Monroe and with Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Executive Director Charlie Earl and Edmonds Community College President Jean Hernandez.

Senator Murray introduced an amendment in the Senate’s FY13 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill to reinstate Ability to Benefit for students who are concurrently enrolled in adult and postsecondary education programs (such as I-BEST) as part of a career pathways program.

 “This amendment will make sure students in high quality career pathway programs won’t be cut off from the federal financial aid they need to continue their education and train for a career. It doesn’t make sense to punish students we know would benefit from postsecondary education and training, and this amendment will make sure we don’t. This amendment is good for students working hard to upgrade their skills and get better jobs, and it’s good for businesses looking for skilled workers," she said.


Find more photos like this on Edmonds Community College

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