Community Colleges: The Backbone of Our Public Workforce System

by Jane Oates on October 4, 2010 · 75 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.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fred Owusu @marketing Success tips May 21, 2012 at 3:32 am

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.

2 Marta Márquez-Pigeon May 23, 2012 at 5:11 am

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.

3 Fred Owusu @marketing Success tips May 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

“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

4 mydaily500 June 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm

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.

5 kindalike June 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm

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.

6 Magento Developer July 20, 2012 at 3:22 am

nice article

7 L.Crossing August 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

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.!!!!!!

8 Sohbet August 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

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

9 moneymaker45 April 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

Good article and a lot of information available. I enjoyed reading about this entry and all the information was very helpful to me.
This topic is quite new to me but I am interested in the article is well written
thank you .

10 wordpress developer July 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Community college is acting as a resource provider to america.

11 Daniel Bryant July 18, 2013 at 3:26 am

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.

12 Bane Jacket August 1, 2013 at 4:23 pm

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!!!

13 Taki November 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

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

14 Free GED Study Guide February 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

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.

15 Rix Allison March 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

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.

16 Jackson March 24, 2014 at 12:18 am

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

17 Jason Lee April 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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.

18 Steve Davis May 21, 2014 at 2:15 am

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.

19 Alex Pan June 16, 2014 at 5:05 am

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

20 Robin James July 3, 2014 at 5:04 am

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.

21 Andrew Marc July 28, 2014 at 6:01 am

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.

22 Ryan Holley August 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

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!

23 Ryan August 13, 2014 at 2:52 am

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

24 workoutseek October 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

This is very interesting and useful information

25 Mr.Dat November 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm

This is definitely a step in the right direction. With the current technology, we have more then enough secure data protocols for this to be implemented safely and securely. Hopefully the influence of the Federal government will encourage certain States to change law preventing the release of test reports directly to patients or other health care providers treating patients.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: