I'm Kristen DuPree and I'm a candidate for the at-large seat on the Metro Community College Board of Governors. I'm running because I believe we all benefit when our community has access to high quality and affordable options for higher education. I grew up in Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I earned a degree in Actuarial Science. Since graduation, I've been working in the insurance industry and became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 2014.
I believe education is an investment we make in our community and Metro Community College provides an exceptional return on investment. In fact, for every $1 invested in an MCC student, $11.90 in benefits is returned to the local economy. My priorities include ensuring MCC remains affordable and serves the diverse needs of its student population while producing a workforce well equipped to react to the changing needs of our community.
Metro Community College was established to provide an accessible option for higher education. Education isn’t accessible if it’s not affordable. Tuition and fees to attend MCC should remain low to reduce barriers to enrollment.
As tuition costs at four-year colleges continue to rise, programs at MCC become even more important. Individuals who have access to education have a pathway to a more fulfilling life. In addition, the entire community benefits from having an educated and skilled workforce ready to meet the demands of our local economy.
Partnering with local businesses and corporations is vital to ensuring MCC is preparing its students for the demands of an evolving job market. These mutually beneficial partnerships encourage innovation and prepare graduates and certificate holders for a successful transition to the workforce.
As we continue to navigate the labor shortage in our local economy, I will explore ways to expand high school outreach programs that introduce students to skilled trades with high demand and competitive salaries. Similarly, community outreach programs should be explored to advertise in-demand programs to adult learners and career changers.
Success in academic or vocational training depends on stability in other areas of the student's life. Students at MCC come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and have greater variability in life stages than traditional four-year colleges.
Programs supporting mental health, food insecurity, internet access and housing needs have undoubtedly had a positive impact on academic performance. I support maintaining these student resource programs and soliciting feedback for additional support opportunities to help encourage all students achieve stability through academic and vocational success.
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