Community colleges serve many purposes. For some people, community colleges are thought of as a stepping stone on a path to a four-year college degree. This is especially compelling for individuals who may not have the time, money, or academic scores to initially matriculate into a four-year university. Others may view community colleges as a viable alternative to earn important professional credentials or an associate’s degree. Seniors often look at community colleges for academic enrichment programs, well after they’ve completed their work lives. So in many respects, community colleges are defined differently by those who enroll in them. From remedial studies, to professional certifications, to a path to a bachelor’s degree, to post-career enrichment, community colleges serve a range of needs.
At the recent National College Access Network’s annual conference in Indianapolis, there was some concern that many companies are unable to find qualified job candidates. In fact, in a 2016 survey, 46% of American employers reported difficulty filling positions due to a lack of qualified applicants, but the shortage isn’t just limited to entry or lower-level positions. A Business Roundtable survey found that 94% of CEO’s reported problematic skill gaps for their companies ran the gamut from entry-level to advanced, highly technical positions.