Community Colleges: The Backbone of Our Public Workforce System

Filed in DOL by on October 4, 2010 77 Comments

The White House Summit on Community Colleges on October 5th is exciting for so many reasons.  For those of us who have spent decades in education, it’s the first time that community colleges have been recognized at a presidential level.  And more importantly, it is being hosted by Dr. Jill Biden, a stellar educator who has chosen to proudly be community college faculty.  For a recovering teacher it doesn’t get much better than that.

So why would we at the Department of Labor be so excited about a Community College Summit?  Our system of Career One Stop Centers are a great resource to help guide workers towards new career pathways and to help them find future employment, but the community colleges are the backbone of our public workforce system.   Through our close partnerships with the community college system, we prepare our workforce for lucrative job opportunities that can lead to life-long careers in high growth and emerging industries such as healthcare, technology and clean energy.

 For example, this year alone, we awarded $125 million in Community-Based Job Training Grants to 41 community colleges and organizations across the country. Our goal through those grants is to help workers prepare for and secure good jobs.  More than 156,474 individuals have received education and training through these grants.  Community colleges are helping get America back to work.

 To put these CBJT grants in perspective, here are a handful of local examples of how through our partnerships with community colleges, local participants are benefitting from new job skills and already finding jobs:  Navarro College in Texas has teamed with North Central Texas College to create a program that will educate, train, and certify skilled workers for the Texas energy industry. Over 1,300 individuals have received training through this grant, and over 550 have entered employment.  And at Saint Paul College (MN), workers are preparing for employment in clinical laboratory and medical lab technician occupations.  To date, 510 participants have enrolled in training, and 106 have entered employment.  And there are so many more.

 Our community colleges are as diverse as the communities they serve -but they are all committed to helping this country reach the President’s goal of at least one year of post-secondary education for everyone.  Their proven track record in offering state of the art industry recognized credentials and a variety of degrees make them the logical choice for job seekers and employers who are looking for high quality academic and occupational training. 

 On October 5th we will hear about the promising work of those in attendance, but it’s important that we learn from more than just those in DC.  Anyone who wants to participate can go to to post a comment, send in a video, or ask a question. 

 We’ve also created a special online White House forum for others to participate during the summit, and will be live-streaming the opening and closing sessions. 

The Department of Labor and the Department of Education have partnered on a number of important initiatives in this Administration, but none is better than our work with community colleges. Getting all students the quality education that they need to achieve their dreams of degree attainment and a solid career is a shared goal of our departments.  The White House Summit on Community Colleges is a fantastic step to move our nation toward that goal!

Jane Oates is the Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Comments (77)

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  1. grants says:

    Community colleges don’t offer housing. The opportunities at a community college are limited. You can only get as far as an associates degree usually, that’s two years, which is the lowest form of mastery of a subject. You can’t get your master’s from a community college. Most people use it to either save money for a few years, get more credits, or strengthen their skills so they can easily transfer onto a four year university later.

  2. This is good news! It is very nice to know that Dept. of Education and Dept. of Labor are collaborating with each other with regard to the betterment of the society in terms of providing appropriate education, livelihood and employment to citizens.

  3. Thanks for the information on the community colleges. Kudos on the White House Summit in helping to provide all students with quality education!

  4. David Argy says:

    Jane, thanks for this.

    My nephew is currently looking at colleges and finding a high quality one, that is affordable is a challenge for his family.

    I was always brought up that Community Colleges were where the less smart kids went, or “13th grade.”

    It’s good to know that both the quality of the education and the reputation of community colleges is improving. This offers us a viable alternative for my nephew.


  5. Hi, very true “community colleges” are the backbone of our public workforce system. The healthcare IT industry is growing and finding its deep roots into the healthcare industry. Making the workforce ready for this industry would be a great effort both for individuals as well as healthcare industry as a whole. Thanks for the informative post.

  6. Web Identity says:

    Such an exciting post! Thank you. This is inspiring likewise.

  7. Nice Post!!!!! Thanks for providing useful information.. Yah, As you have told that community colleges are backbone of Public Workforce System, I am totally agree with you. Everybody has a goal and if we do not pay proper attention towards our goal then it can never be achieved. So keep focusing on your goal..We should share our knowledge with others, by doing this we get the new ideas for doing our works best….

  8. WoW! Great post! Thank you so much for this !

  9. This is a good post. As someone who relied heavily on Community College, I really appreciate this information.

  10. It seems that a lot of folks are relying on community colleges for more training for their careers.

  11. filmy online says:

    whoah this blog is wonderful i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, lots of people are looking around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  12. It is good to see community colleges being recognized at the presidential level. They are so vital in providing affordable educations for our youth.

  13. “More than 156,474 individuals have received education and training through these grants. Community colleges are helping get America back to work.”

    Just want to say that is crazy… thats totally helping america back to work


  14. USMLE 1 says:

    This is truly right. This shows hoe diverse a community is that everyone students have a choice to what school they’ll pursue their dreams.

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  16. Some of the distance education programs have a virtual externship, which is completed online just like the other courses. The externship varies in length depending on the program, with some programs requiring 30 to 60 hours to be completed.

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  20. Serene says:

    I think community colleges contribute more to the work then traditional 4 year colleges.
    Where ever I move to, close proximity to one is factor in my decision to move there.

  21. Community Colleges and other more accessible programs are critical to any community.

  22. Experience expressed in a right way but its all because of rule , regulation’s or laws etc

  23. Community colleges are undoubtedly the backbone of the public employment system … so is good news

  24. Jason says:

    Without my local community college, I would have never finished a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or been accepted into law school. I would not have the salary and lifestyle I do today. Every time I pass that local community college, I feel grateful for my time there and the path it started me on.

    Please visit my site, for sorts of info about getting into law school.

    How many of you out there would not be where you are without community colleges? I’d guess many many of you.

  25. Lips volume says:

    I love to read this kind of stuff!

  26. it’s really excited that government pay more and more attention and also pay more money on community colleges. The workforce system is really important to our society. we need workforce on many areas, so improving the colleges community is not dad choice.speech to text app

  27. Education is the only thing that makes a person forward, which is why a country that is very important that its citizens have the opportunity to access quality education, because this increases the chances that citizens contribute to the economy and culture that makes a country a world power

  28. Shine says:

    Having these community colleges around is a real blessing.

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  30. A summit for Community colleges is san excellent idea, they contribute so much to the better education of our country. So many people have benefitted from community colleges over the years, long may they prosper.

  31. Community Colleges are great and it is about time that they are recognized for the great job they are providing!

  32. “More than 156,474 individuals have received education and training through these grants. Community colleges are helping get America back to work.”

    I do agree with Frank above. That is a staggering number of people that have been able to take advantage of the grants. It’s good to see our tax dollars at work. :-)

  33. Thanks… very inspiring..

  34. Community colleges produces good work for the working capacity of the people.This is the most important reason which will provide a good progress and government take action for the well being of these colleges.

  35. I love to read this kind of stuff!

  36. Explow says:

    Most of our population comes from a community college except some lucky ones who get to go to private collages. Its not untrue to call it the backbone of our economy.

  37. Sally Marsh says:

    Honestly where would we be without community colleges? Some of our country’s brightest minds have come through this system

  38. Andrei G. says:

    Thank you for you article!

  39. always have the community center to meet and share ideas and ways of thinking .. if there were would be invented.

  40. This is sure. I agree whit the information shared in this post.

  41. Great article, I’ve learned a lot from this post.
    Thanks for sharing this info!

  42. Roku2 says:

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  43. Vestiti da sposo says:

    Wow, I didn’t know it. Thank’s for share it

  44. Ryan says:

    This is sure. I agree whit the information shared in this post.

  45. Alzheimer's care center says:

    The community college summit means there will be discussion on the system implemented in different colleges. The summit is a speech carried out within group of people. The discussion on the education and knowing the problems and their solutions is the best way to improve it.

  46. web development says:

    Nice post . keep up the good work

  47. With the cost of state universities increasing exponentially, it would make sense for anyone not receiving a full-ride scholarship to go the CC route. Jumping immediately into a 4-year state university program would leave students in debt for decades!

  48. Braino says:

    I started out at a community college many years ago and it was an excellent and wonderful opportunity. My education there was top-shelf and definitely a valuable experience. It was the perfect choice from which to earn an associates degree before heading off to undergraduate school. Highly recommended and most grateful for the experience and opportunity.

  49. Community college is well worth going. I saved a lot of money going to a community college. With community college i will be dead broke. Great article by the way.

  50. Marta Márquez-Pigeon says:

    I think it is very important to teach, not only in theory, but also of practical way to students in universities. Once you end up the career, you feel lost because you don’t know what is your profession until the practice.
    Now with so many people of unemployment, you have to train the workers to have more opportunities in the search for a profession.

  51. Fred Owusu @marketing Success tips says:

    “More than 156,474 men and women have received education and education by way of these grants. Community colleges are helping get America back to work.”

    Just want to say that is crazy… thats entirely helping america back to work

  52. mydaily500 says:

    The SAT Scores typically range from 600 points on the low end to 2,400 (perfect score) on the high end, with the average being 1,500 or an average of 500 for critical reading, 500 for math, and 500 for writing scores.

    Attending a Junior College or Community College can prepare you for a top-ranking University admission where your SAT Scores would generally need to be in the 90% range, or over 2,100 points. Of course, in a perfect world, one would strive for a perfect 100% commission score of 2,400 points. That would be an ideal goal.

  53. kindalike says:

    The community colleges in the Dallas Community College District (DCCD) are first-rate and offer a phenomenal education and preparation for admission to a four-year university and beyond. They offered a strenuous well-disciplined yet well-rounded educational environment and I found their standards to be far superior even to graduate school.

  54. L.Crossing says:

    Community Colleges have such an important role in allowing students of all conditions to obtain quality education and helping them in reach their goals later in life. Congrats C.C.!!!!!!

  55. Sohbet says:

    very nice publish, i definitely love this website, keep on it

  56. moneymaker45 says:

    Good article and a lot of information available. I enjoyed reading about this entry and all the information was very helpful to me.
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  57. wordpress developer says:

    Community college is acting as a resource provider to america.

  58. Daniel Bryant says:

    Its about time that community colleges get the recognition that they deserve. Community colleges not only educate but they also create opportunities and that’s really what people trying to get back to work need.

  59. Bane Jacket says:

    Superb work done from your side. You took a tremendous step by allowing $125 millions in community bases job and 41 in community colleges too we all should give respect to this step surely through these decisions can improved workforce system of any country or state . And now we are expecting more from you :) Thumbs up!!!

  60. Taki says:

    I believe it is extremely vital to teach, not just in theory, but also of practical method to students in universities. As soon as you end up your job, you feel lost because you don’t realize what represents your profession till the practice. Thanks

  61. Free GED Study Guide says:

    I disagree with the above commenter myDaily500 that community colleges can prepare people for top colleges and university. That is a very hard to believe and idealistic. Yes, community colleges are good for trades but if you are looking at continuing on to a 4 years school they don’t seem worth it. Students end up paying more and having to retake classes anyway. I’m for increasing the number of trade schools.

  62. Rix Allison says:

    Definitely community colleges are of great help..just imagine the difference between tuition fees on top schools vs community colleges.. Been to a community college..i never regretted it.

  63. Jackson says:

    Community college is helpful to my son. My son have saved much money for me by going to a community college.

  64. Jason Lee says:

    Community colleges are very powerful and in some instances (depending on the program) more valuable than 4 year degrees. I once taught a nuclear engineering course at a local college for our company, upon which students leaving the program would start out at 40/hr or so. This is higher than most 4 year university tuitions for starting students in the workforce. It all depends on the skills acquired really and their value in the marketplace.

  65. Steve Davis says:

    Community colleges play a very important role in American education system. But it is so vital to teach, not just in theory, but also of practical method to students in colleges and universities. Proper education is much needed to survive in real world. Such a great article for all.

  66. Alex Pan says:

    This is a great article, but as others said before me, it is important to “teach by doing”, good practical lessons make great students.

  67. Robin James says:

    A great analysis i get from here. Now i realized the worth of community colleges. These are actually the backbone if someone have a better vision and social thinking.

  68. Andrew Marc says:

    Quite interesting point of view. The american learning system is actually pretty smart (from my point of view). Community college is a must, in a smart student’s life. Really great and inspiring article.

  69. Ryan Holley says:

    As a somewhat recent college graduate, it is definitely a positive change. The more people that can have the opportunity to go back to school, the better. I recently just finished a published article weighing the pros and cons of attending a community college, and why it’s better than enrolling into a university. You can find the article by clicking on my name and going to the blog section. Thanks!

  70. Ryan says:

    Community colleges are a great way of furthering education or an alternative if university is too expensive. Great article. My wife has completed a number of community college courses

  71. Community colleges are blessings. You have put some good points. Keep up the good work.

  72. Adam Salud says:

    Great analysis for Community colleges thanks for sharing

  73. ThinkCode says:

    We’ve worked with several community college graduates, mentoring them and training them in our areas of expertise like web development. I think they provide a solid opportunity for those who can’t bear the burden of tons of student loan debt.

  74. Adam says:

    Community colleges definitely put a lot of people to work and grant opportunities and work skills at an affordable price. Nice article.

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