By Dr. Sunita Cooke Superintendent/President MiraCosta College The numbers don’t lie.

MiraCosta College offers job training and educational opportunities for 1,800 military veterans and their families each year. We offer a cost-effective, postsecondary option for more than 1 in 3 high school graduates in the area. We work closely with local industries, including biotechnology and health care companies, in strengthening the regional economy, a prized community investment that equates to a $338.4 million impact annually to North San Diego County.

MiraCosta College offers that and more to all of us who live and work in North County’s diverse communities.

Which is why the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego Coastal Chamber, the San Diego County Taxpayer Association, and leaders from Carmel Valley to Camp Pendleton are supporting Proposition MM, a measure that would raise an estimated $455 million in locally controlled funding to repair and improve the college district’s aging facilities.

It has been 55 years – John F. Kennedy was in the White House speaking to us through black-and-white television sets – since voters passed a MiraCosta College bond measure. In order to continue its vital role training local students with modern skills to compete in today’s rapidly changing economy, it’s time to improve MiraCosta College classrooms, labs and instructional technology.

Measure MM would upgrade MiraCosta career training facilities for science, health care, technology and skilled trades. Measure MM also would update instructional technology for improved student learning in core subjects like math, science and technology. Facilities for veterans that provide job training, counseling and other support services would be improved and expanded, adding to such groundbreaking efforts as the new Veterans Business Outreach Center – the only program of its kind in Southern California. Plus, it would help improve access for students with disabilities and repair or replace plumbing that is deteriorating and roofs that leak.

By state law, not one penny generated through Measure MM can be spent on faculty, staff or administrator salaries or pensions. What’s more, an independent citizens’ oversight committee will review all expenses and provide reports to the community to ensure that all funds are spent as promised.

MiraCosta College is an essential part of the North County economy, and leading local employers rely on our specialized training programs and skills of our graduates. In less than a year, MiraCosta will become the first community college in the state to offer a Bachelor of Science in Biomanufacturing, a program that was developed in close collaboration with our corporate business partners.

MiraCosta College has been serving the coastal North County area for more than 80 years. Today, 25,000 students are enrolled in associate degree and university transfer programs; workforce readiness certificate programs; and noncredit courses for continuing education, literacy or lifelong learning.

To learn more about MiraCosta College or Measure MM, please visit miracosta.edu/improvement.