Tracy Beard

Tracy Beard

This fall the Solvang Chamber of Commerce joined with the chambers in Santa Maria and Lompoc in endorsing Measure Y for Allan Hancock College.

As advocates for local businesses, our boards recognize the key role Hancock plays in our community, and its strong commitment to local students.

Hancock’s commitment to Santa Ynez starts with the most visible of programs, the college’s recent move to Santa Ynez Union High School. With expanded course offerings and additional courses for local high school students through concurrent enrollment, every Valley student now has an opportunity to graduate high school with transferable college credit.

Thanks to the Hancock Promise, once those students graduate, they are eligible for one free year of tuition at Hancock College. As an added bonus, the Valley Foundation is supporting Promise students with a special program. The Valley Foundation is not only holding scholarships for students who receive their awards and then attend Hancock, they are doubling the value of that award when the student is ready to transfer to a four-year institution.

That’s right, the foundation is doubling the initial amount of their scholarship. This fabulous public/private partnership is just one example of how collaboration can make a difference and strengthen our community.

Early results show the program is working. Enrollment at AHC from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School more than doubled as a direct result of the Promise Program.

Voters have an opportunity to continue supporting the college through Measure Y, a $75-million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Measure Y is a key step to Allan Hancock College continuing to serve our region. It leverages $10 million in private funds and an additional $24 million from the state to build a new fine arts classroom building that will house cutting-edge programs in graphic design, computer animation, virtual reality programming and digital photography.

These are the types of skills our students need for 21st-century jobs and complement our other programs that lead to transfer and careers.

Measure Y will also expand the career education programs offered by PCPA and on display almost every summer night in Solvang. The magical performances that run all summer in our own back yard are driven by a conservatory program that trains young actors and technicians. PCPA students are prepared for careers that span the entertainment industry.

PCPA alums are not just on Broadway or in Hollywood, they are managing programs at theme parks, staging world-class events or designing stages for large conferences. Last year, each graduating member of PCPA’s cohort of technical theater students — more than 20 — landed a job in the industry.

There is widespread support for Measure Y, including the local chambers of commerce, the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association and the Pacific Coast Business Times. Please support the future of AHC and the Santa Ynez Valley with your vote of “yes” on Measure Y on Nov. 6.

Tracy Beard is CEO of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce. You can find more information on Measure Y at HancockMeasureY.com and facebook.com/HancockMeasureY.

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