Starting this fall, Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) and Inver Hills Community College (IHCC) will commemorate 50 years of providing higher education in Minnesota. As we reflect on our history, I am reminded of the special role that community and technical colleges play in higher education.
Going back to the early 20th century, junior colleges represented a unique American invention in higher education. They offered the first two years of a four-year education, providing access to affordable collegiate education to a growing number of communities. By 1940, more than 450 junior colleges offered associate-level education. Career and technical education was present from the beginning, but it expanded rapidly during the Great Depression as students sought access to employment opportunities.