There is a high demand for qualified workers in energy, health, care, information technology, and advanced manufacturing sectors, but many community college students graduate unprepared to perform those jobs. The problem is most acute for students of color, first–generation students, and students from low–income backgrounds who are often underrepresented in programs that could prepare them for careers in these lucrative fields, causing disparities in student success after graduation.
To help community college students of all backgrounds graduate with the right skills to build a rewarding career, we're funding a project by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program.
Aspen will use a $368,000 grant from Great Lakes to identify and evaluate community colleges with successful, equitable programs that help more students learn, graduate, and advance to well–paying jobs. And based on these findings, Aspen will develop practical, easy–to–use tools that will help colleges nationwide strengthen employer collaborations and make changes at the institutional and program levels. Aspen plans to share its findings with the field by convening college leaders, workforce experts, employers, and members of the higher education reform community.
We hope Aspen's research will reveal the secrets of success for aligning degree programs with labor market demands so that students from all backgrounds graduate with the right skills to build rewarding careers.
For more information, visit community.mygreatlakes.org.