Rethinking the Mission: Community Colleges and Workforce Education

Key Points

  • Among the education providers in a position to help close the middle-skills gap—unmet demand for workers with more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree—community colleges may be the only institution with the reach and scale to make the difference that’s needed.
  • Existing incentives—state and federal metrics, pressures from accreditors, institutional funding, and student aspirations—encourage community colleges to focus on academic programs at the expense of workforce education.
  • States hold the policy levers that can make the most difference in redressing this imbalance, creating incentives for two-year colleges to put skills and skills training more at the center of their missions.

Click here to read Tamar Jacoby’s complete paper published on the American Enterprise Institute website. 

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