Cape Fear Community College is worried about the future of its nationally known marine technology program.
Students in the program get gain hands-on experience by spending 30 days at sea studying the water and marine life. That experience will no longer be possible if the state makes more than half-a-million dollars in proposed cuts.
There is high demand for the program. This semester, it is at full capacity with 124 students. Students would still be able to learn marine technology in the classroom, but they say it won’t be the same.
Audra Buchfield, a CFCC marine technology student said, “Learning in a classroom and saying you have to do this on a vessel is one thing, actually being there and seeing why you have to do it on a vessel is a completely different thing.”
Jason Rogers, program director, said, “If we can’t get them out on the boats and we can’t get them fishing gill nets and taking water samples and being at sea, learning what it is to be safe in the marine environment then employers just won’t hire them.”
CFCC’s marine technology program is the only one of its kind on the east coast. It’s seen as a leader in marine education across the country.