Tag: Community College

In this episode of the “New Skills Marketplace” podcast, Andy Smarick (AEI) and John Bailey (AEI) sit down with Diane Jones from the Urban Institute to discuss the role of community colleges and apprenticeship programs in closing the skills gap.

Diane first breaks down the world of apprenticeships: what they are [7:20], the sectors they serve [9:54], the differences between registered and unregistered apprenticeships [13:33], how apprenticeships in the United States compare to those in other countries [20:18], and how they are regulated [28:08]. Diane then shifts to a conversation about the role of community colleges and how they have changed in response to new challenges [33:29]. Next, Diane details state efforts to solve the skills gap issue [43:00]. Finally, Andy and John reflect on their conversation with Diane [46:30].

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At the time of this writing on Thursday evening, very little is known about the sicko who shot up a community college in Oregon (which had no armed security), snuffing out lives and dreams before the police ended his spree. We know that the shooter (whose name we won’t repeat here) was 26 years old, […]

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When Free Becomes Worthless


640A recent study compares — among other things — the average lifetime earnings of folks with an associate’s degree to the average earnings of those who lack any college degree. There are several reasons why one would expect that the educated person, even with such a nominal degree, would come out on top of these statistics. The degree itself might be causative, having provided valuable skills directly related to employment, or it may be indicative of the students’ drive and will to achieve. Alternatively, it may say little about community college students, but much about those without a college eduction regarding their motivation, intelligence, and discipline, or their particular circumstances.

If one considers just how inexpensive community college is — without even considering how easy it is to finance it — it’s difficult to presume that anyone would feel “left behind” because of its cost. Quite the opposite. It is far more likely that some people who have considered but passed on junior college, have simply rejected it for lack of value, not because of cost.

So what would be accomplished if junior college were tuition free, as the president proposes? First and foremost, it would place pressure on our other public universities who compete with community colleges for students. The relationship between two- and four-year schools is currently cordial, even cooperative: credits for junior college coursework are readily accepted and transferred to four-year schools, and two-year professional programs in teaching, engineering, accounting and nursing are often integrated with four year bachelor’s degree programs. This cooperation exists because — despite the community college system’s current and significant cost advantage — two-year schools act as a kind of farm system, a feeder program that weeds out nominal students who lack focus and drive.