Otter is praising Idaho’s higher education system and calling for boosts in the areas Idaho’s universities have named as their top priorities, a computer science initiative at Boise State University, an employee readiness initiative at the University of Idaho, career path internships at Idaho State University, and the Complete College Idaho program in all the institutions.
But he went on to call for forming more community colleges in Idaho,"something you won't find in my budget," he said, "but I believe it is an incredible opportunity to improve the lives of Idaho citizens." He recounted how Ada and Canyon county citizens voted to establish the College of Western Idaho, in what had been the largest metropolitan area in the nation without a community college.
“Now that we are rebounding, we find ourselves faced with growing demand and intensifying need for the services that community colleges are uniquely able to provide,” the governor told lawmakers in his State of the State message. “So today I challenge again the underserved communities of Idaho where no broad-based community college programs now exist to canvass their citizens and businesses on the value that can be added to their economic development and public enrichment efforts by establishing a community college district of the size and focus that will meet their local needs.” He said, “We did it with CWI and we can do it again.”