Youngkin praises New College Institute after budget cut threat

Youngkin praises New College Institute after budget cut threat

Gov. Glenn Youngkin visited the New College Institute (NCI) in Martinsville on Friday, Jan. 26, to see the state-run education center and talk to its staff and students. The visit came after Youngkin’s proposed budget for 2025-2026 threatened to slash funding for NCI unless it submitted a business plan by October 2024.

Youngkin impressed by NCI’s programs and students

Youngkin spent an hour touring the facility, which offers college courses and job training classes for rural and inner-city residents. He met with students from the Martinsville/Henry County junior chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and members of NCI’s youth robotics team. He also spoke with students on a field trip with the Wendell Scott Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes STEM education and diversity in motorsports.

The governor was impressed by NCI’s programs and students, who showed him their robotics projects and shared their career aspirations. He praised NCI for providing opportunities for students to pursue their passions and prepare for the workforce.

Youngkin praises New College Institute after budget cut threat

Youngkin discusses NCI’s business plan with staff and board members

After the tour, Youngkin sat down with NCI’s executive director Joe Sumner, board chair Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, and other staff and board members to discuss NCI’s business plan and customer recruitment and expansion strategy. The governor had requested NCI to present such a plan by Oct. 1, 2024, as part of his state budget proposal. Without it, NCI risks receiving about $4.5 million in proposed funding from the commonwealth for fiscal year 2025, but nothing in fiscal 2026.

Youngkin said he wanted to see NCI’s plan to achieve its mission to prepare students for careers under new leadership. Sumner, who became NCI’s executive director in July 2023, said he appreciated the governor’s visit and feedback. He said NCI’s plan is to supplement the commonwealth’s workforce offerings without duplication of existing programs.

Stanley grateful for Youngkin’s visit and support

Stanley, who serves as chair of the board for NCI, said he was grateful that Youngkin took time out of his busy schedule to visit NCI. He said he had invited the governor to see NCI for himself, after he expressed dismay at parts of the governor’s proposed budget when it was released in December.

Stanley, who has served on the NCI board for about 10 years and chair since 2016, said he was frustrated that Youngkin would consider nixing funding for NCI without ever visiting it. He said he was told by Youngkin’s staff a few weeks prior to the budget’s unveiling that NCI would have budgetary support and would be expected to provide a business plan by the end of 2024.

Stanley said he was glad that Youngkin was clearly impressed by what NCI is doing and provided new ideas on how NCI can be better for the people it serves. He said he hopes that Youngkin will restore funding for NCI in both years of the biennium and support its growth and development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *