|An “overall restructuring” of Northland Community & Technical College will soon phase out the school’s automotive service technology program in East Grand Forks, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Kent Hanson said.
He met with a few dozen students on Wednesday to explain the change that will shift the program entirely to the Thief River Falls campus.
“The college is facing some big budget challenges due to the economic situation in the state of Minnesota,” Hanson said. “As part of that, we are looking at duplicate programs and restructuring how we offer trades education.”
But students criticized Hanson for the decision to eliminate a program they say seems to be a better fit in East Grand Forks, a city with more job opportunities and housing than Thief River Falls.
And they said they’re worried the change will eventually cause the program to be discontinued entirely. They said many people who would otherwise take classes in East Grand Forks will simply go to North Dakota State College of Sciences in Wahpeton, N.D., where they could find jobs in nearby Fargo, rather than look for work in Thief River Falls.
“You’re going to suffocate the mechanics program,” one student said.