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Human Resource Development and Career and Technical Education in American Community Colleges


Community College Research Center, Columbia University,


With their open access admission policies, low tuition costs, and convenient locations, community colleges are designed to make college accessible to all. They strive to meet three main goals. The first is to teach marketable vocational skills, the second is to provide the first two years of a four-year bachelor's degree program, and the third is to provide continuing education and enrichment for community residents. This paper covers issues that are relevant to the community college mission of helping prepare a skilled workforce for jobs offering reasonable wages. After providing an overview about community colleges and their students, the paper discusses the types of remedial education programs that are most likely to provide the large number of underprepared students enrolled in community colleges with the skills to advance to college-level courses. It considers the growing phenomenon of dual enrollment that enables students to earn both high school and college credit for courses while still in high school. It addresses the ways that community colleges can support local labor markets and regional economic development and their efforts to build career pathways for workers. It describes the growing role of community colleges in online education, and it reviews the financing of community colleges. The paper also discusses issues related to community college persistence and completion, and it cites evidence of the market value of the education and credentials the colleges provide. Finally, it considers the usefulness of the American community college as a model for other countries seeking to develop institutions that serve similar functions.


Zeidenberg, M. & Bailey, T. (2010). Human Resource Development and Career and Technical Education in American Community Colleges. Presented at Community College Research Center, Columbia University 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2019 from .

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