• Report

Integrating Industry-Driven Competencies in Education and Training Through Employer Engagement

Citation

Foster, L., Hughes, K., Bailey, T., & Poppe, N. (2012). Integrating Industry-Driven Competencies in Education and Training Through Employer Engagement. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Office of Correctional Education.

Abstract

A troubling gap, however, currently exists between the skills and knowledge of the country’s current and projected workforce and the demands of jobs expected to grow most rapidly during the next decade. Community colleges are ideally positioned to help close that gap. President Obama has acknowledged this reality by calling for increased college graduation rates and a commitment among students to complete at least one year of postsecondary education (Obama 2009).

Community colleges have a long history as leaders in workforce education, collaborating with business and industry to meet local employment needs. They offer affordable tuition, open admissions, flexible course schedules, and convenient locations. They provide opportunities not only for students leaving high school, but also for older students, low-income and minority students, and working adults. Several problems, however, must be addressed if community colleges are to succeed as engines of workforce development and economic prosperity. These challenges include low rates of student persistence and completion and insufficient alignment among education standards and workforce expectations.