Officials at community and technical colleges in the Ohio Valley may well have applauded the part of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech that focused on them.
Citing the need for better job training in the United States, Obama noted two-year colleges have been leaders in that endeavor. He called for new federal programs and funding to make the institutions "community career centers."
For years, West Virginia Northern Community College, Belmont Technical College and Eastern Gateway Community College indeed have been leaders in preparing young people for careers and helping older students learn new ones.
Each of the institutions has been dedicated to innovation in job training. They have responded to the business community's needs with special programs to train casino workers, coal miners and drilling crews, among others.
Of course, all three local colleges and other good community and technical institutions throughout the country can always use more money. Those in our area have been remarkably efficient in spending taxpayers' money, but restrained by tight finances in what they can do.
Too often the government actually thwarts innovation by dictating from Washington what recipients of federal money must do with it. Flexibility of the very type that has allowed local institutions to react quickly to career training needs can be stifled.
If Obama's idea is to offer community and technical colleges more money with the typical federal strings attached, the response should be "thanks but no thanks."