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McCrory budget proposal would cripple CFCC Marine Tech program

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Governor Pat McCrory unveiled his state budget proposal today, and it doesn't bode well for Cape Fear Community College's Marine Tech program.

The Marine Technology Program at Cape Fear Community College is a unique program in North Carolina. College officials say CFCC is recognized all over the world for providing trained marine technicians.

"It's the only program of it's kind that provides hands on, off shore, on the water training to students to help them get jobs in the maritime industry" said CFCC spokesman David Hardin.

As it stands, the Governor's budget proposal allocates just over $343,000 to CFCC's program. That's only half the amount it takes to operate on an annual basis.

Hardin says the cut "essentially cripples the training ability."

The program nearly has a fifty year track record of successfully placing students in jobs upon completion of the program according to college leaders.

"The North Carolina economy needs jobs, this is not the time to be cutting a job training program" said Hardin.

Mike Diefenbech moved to the Port City from Indiana specifically to enroll in the Marine Technology Program because of all it offers. Although he is a senior this year, he is concerned with how prepared future students will be if the budget were to be cut.

"With half the budget, they won't be able to bring in anything new to keep up with current updates. "

In the past eight years CFCC has fought this budget battle three times. Governor Perdue's budget two years ago tried to do the same thing, but the local legislative delegation fought the cut and kept the program funded. Hardin says CFCC will be perusing local delegation and Governor's Office again to educate them on the importance of the funding.

Senator Thom Goolsby says he is already on board. "It's a great program. I am 100 percent for it. I faught for it last time, and I will fight for it again. "

Governor McCrory will be in the Wilmington to help CFCC break ground on its new Fine Arts Center tomorrow. We'll talk with him to find out more on why he wants to cut the program.

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