Describes a study conducted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) that explores the overarching issues affecting community college noncredit workforce education.
"Postsecondary noncredit education [is] increasingly common; many community colleges now enroll more noncredit than credit students. Much of the growth has occurred in workforce instruction and contract training. These programs are noted for their important role in meeting shifting workforce demands and providing skills in a way that is flexible and responsive to employer needs. Growth in this sector raises fundamental questions about whether colleges are keeping pace with need, using resources efficiently, and providing access to all students. The answers may challenge current state policies and college practices" (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"Noncredit workforce education can play an important role in responding to local labor market demands by addressing employers’ workforce needs and students’ needs for immediate skills. It can also benefit students by providing access to credit programs, generating meaningful recorded outcomes for a range of needs, and facilitating the long-term pursuit of degrees. Community college noncredit workforce education can have a central role in states that prioritize funding to support career pathways as part of their workforce development agenda by connecting short-term training to programs leading to degrees and credentials. The findings from this study lead to five key recommendations: 1. Provide state funding to support noncredit workforce education with clear and targeted goals that promote workforce development and help students access credit education by cultivating better ties to career pathways. 2. Encourage increased coordination between credit and noncredit programs to benefit both students and employers. 3. Better assess student needs and support efforts to recruit noncredit students into credit programs and to articulate noncredit and credit programs to promote student transfer, when appropriate. 4. Explore the development of nondegree forms of validation for all noncredit workforce education and standard systems to record outcomes that promote the portability of evidence of skills for students and accountability for colleges and state workforce education funds. 5. Collect more information on individuals’ and employers’ outcomes from noncredit workforce education to assess the contributions of noncredit workforce education for students, employers, and the economy." (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)