The new school year is in full swing across the Kenai Peninsula. That includes the Kenai River Campus of Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, where a pair of new buildings represent the tremendous growth of our local institution of higher learning.
With much deserved fanfare, college officials last week opened a new Career and Technical Education Center, and a new residence hall. At a practical level, the new buildings will allow the college to expand the programs it offers, as well as expanding the student body. Our local college continues to evolve to meet the needs of students as well as the industries in which many graduates hope to find careers once they complete their education. A well trained, professional workforce is an investment that always pays dividends, and graduates of KPC programs frequently find their skills in high demand.
On a bigger, more philosophical level, the college’s continued growth represents an embrace of the importance of education in our community. Former University of Alaska president Mark Hamilton liked to say that once upon a time, you worked construction so that you could go to college; in this day and age, you need to go to college so you can work construction.
It’s a message that our community is buying into — just look at the list of graduates from recent KPC commencement ceremonies. From those earning their GED, to the students from all walks of life receiving associate, bachelor and advanced degrees, there is a belief that continuing education or specialized training will lead to better, more fulfilling opportunities down the road.
We’re excited to see the KPC’s continued growth, and the community’s support of its goals. A thriving college is an important part of what makes the central Kenai Peninsula such a vibrant place to work and live.