Examines the increasingly important role of community colleges as providers of affordable education and centers for local needs-based employment training.

“[T]he community college is an intricate institution offering pathways to credentials, degrees, and retraining opportunities for those with and without college credentials; they operate as engines of economic development. To date, the multifunctional nature of the community college mission limited [the authors’] ability to understand these colleges’ role in sustaining the nation’s general welfare” (p.7).

“This brief provides a framework and supporting data to detail some of the public and private benefits to the various community college missions. In order to continue to provide these benefits and fill-in where other opportunities for education and training once stood, public investments in the education and training community colleges provide need to equalize and stabilize, if not increase” (p.4).

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“This brief provides a better opportunity to understand community colleges’ role, and frames private and public economic returns of the community college movement in three ways: 1. The community college as a launching pad. Community colleges serve as a starting point for students in terms of educational progression—the lockstep mentality that dominates considerations of educational attainment. They also accelerate learning through early college experiences and transfer opportunities. 2. The community college as a (re)launching pad. Community colleges serve as providers of knowledge and skills to members of the community when they need them, and in ways that they need them, often for those who have already been successful in college. 3. The community college as a local commitment. Community colleges serve local purposes, focusing on the needs and demands of the communities they serve” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author)