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How Community Colleges Help Spur Economic Growth

The economic demands of a nation depend on a variety of perspectives, including workforce. Workers are demanded to possess increased level of skills, abilities and knowledge – all of these can be developed through college education. Without workers who possess such foundations, it is highly likely that a country will lose its economic ground to others that have equipped their workforce better for upcoming challenges.

In US, the emergence of community colleges helps ensure that Americans are ready to meet the demands of the new economy. But the plan is not just to equip students with the right skill set for their chosen careers, it also promotes an educational model that is alternative to the four-year programs.

Economic demands need increasing level of education

By 2020, it has been estimated that the US workforce will decline in terms of having college-educated workers. This gap is already expected since jobs will require mostly of associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree beyond high school education. This is true in some of the fastest and highest growing sectors like engineering, mathematics, science, health care, technology and community service.

Moreover, postsecondary education investment by state has fallen over the past few years and the overall student loan and tuition fee has increased. As a result, the current generation is not able to sustain the requirements for having post-secondary education. The trends for economic demands will continue to increase as older adults retire from the workforce industry, making economic performance drop behind societies with higher educational levels.

Community colleges are a necessary investment for sustaining economic demands

The federal government has tried to keep up with the changes in economic and education needs through provision of grants to middle and low income students, student loans and tax credits. But the challenge remains among students from low-income families since the amount of borrowing has increased over the years along with college costs. This has resulted in a drop in college-going rate both from low-income and middle-income families.

In a practical sense, affordable higher education is still necessary, but this is not sufficient to sustain the needs of students coming from low-income and middle-income families. The state needs to ensure that it has reliable investment in educational services so that such population can still opt for affordable college education. Community colleges has made a great contributed to the growing problems of educational attainment.

The 2014 report by the American Association of Community Colleges showed that community colleges promote economic growth in a variety of ways. First is the skills development and training they provide to students, which has been the core focus of their educational services. Students who studied in community colleges entered the US workforce with new skills and ongoing training to enhance their capabilities. On the same report, the total impact of community colleges on the national economy has amounted to $809 billion by 2012. From here, we can say that community colleges are really an essential investment for sustaining the economic demands of the country.

Armed with the right skills for their chosen careers, students from community colleges are more prepared to face the challenges of the corporate world. Success is possible with the help of community colleges.

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