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The Alignment of Community Colleges _ Workforce Development


									The Alignment of Community Colleges &
Workforce Development
Freddy Gonzales: CCLA Project

   Background and Need:

   While professional job opportunities in several industry sectors in Massachusetts
   exist, the path to those jobs can be unclear. Many of those jobs require very specific
   academic credentials and certifications. Employers have jobs they want to fill but are
   having trouble filling them. People who are interested in careers in these major
   industries are unable to connect to these opportunities even though they may possess
   many of the qualifications required for the job.

   Many employers feel that Community Colleges are not aligned with their workforce
   needs. This leads to students graduating from college who are not ready to join the
   existing workforce, or employees who take college courses and still cannot do the
   job. As a result, employers have a number of unfilled jobs and colleges have
   graduates who cannot find employment.

   Nationally and locally we see many jobs that are going unfilled and yet the
   unemployment rate is at one of its highest rate in history.

   Our local community feels that although there are jobs available in certain industries
   (Biotech, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, etc.) the jobs require a set of skills that they are
   not acquiring through their local Community Colleges.

   This gap between the available workforce and jobs is very likely to worsen as the
   economy improves and also as employed baby-boomers retire.

   A recent article published in the Job for the Future Website, (Aligning Community
   Colleges to Their Own Local Labor Markets, David Alstadt, August 2011)
   acknowledges the transformation that the United States is undergoing, moving from
   an industrial economy to a service- and knowledge-based economy and how this new
   economy depends on workers with advanced education and skills. It also mentions
   how the current recession has accelerated this change by eliminating hundreds of
   thousands of low-skill, blue-collar jobs and flooding unemployment with workers
   who have only a high school education or less.

In the last few years we have seen how the mismatch between education offerings at
higher education institutions and employment opportunities has brought stiff competition
especially for community colleges. The competition comes from for-profit training

organizations and other online training providers. In some cases we are seeing four-year
universities are now serving industries and occupations once dominated by Associate’s
degree holders: health care employers increasingly consider a Bachelor’s degree as the
minimum academic qualification for nurses, in particular for those without prior work
experience (Jacobs 2011).

Locally, Governor Duval Patrick stated that in Massachusetts there were 240,000 people
looking for work, while there were nearly 120,000 job openings. He stated that
Massachusetts needs to get its workforce trained with the skills needed for these jobs and
that the Commonwealth’s Community Colleges needed to be at the very center of this.

As mentioned by the Boston Foundation in its recently released report “The Case for
Community Colleges: Aligning Higher education and Workforce Development needs in
Massachusetts”; “Massachusetts needs an actionable plan – a strategic blueprint – for
building a system that effectively leverages the capacity of community colleges to be
leaders in meeting the workforce needs of Massachusetts”.

The bottom line is community colleges are under pressure to produce graduates who can
get jobs.

Why Community Colleges? Although many employers train people for jobs, they are not
in the education business. Education is not one of their core competencies. Employers
do not want to be in the education and training business. They feel that they are forced
into this because of the misalignment that exists between business and higher education.
This is an expense to employers that impacts not only their bottom line but also their
profit-margins. Community Colleges are seen as a low cost means to provide training.
Through the creation Community College and Workforce Development alignment
pathways, Community Colleges would become exactly what both the community and
employers are looking for in an “Educational Partner”.

This project proposes to outline key components for a model which Community Colleges
can use to develop these pathways and thus help solve this problem.

Clearly more in-depth research will be required to develop a detailed “Pathways” model;
this document outlines some of the major elements that may be considered for the
development of such a model, as well as key research considerations.


The research surely identified a need for community colleges to align with workforce
development in order to assist their communities (and perhaps the country) in economic

Furthermore, in relevance to the College, Roxbury Community College wants to insure
that its students have the skills and knowledge to be successful obtaining employment
with local industry employers, as well as, be able to move up available career ladders, as
it is stated in the College’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan for Student Success Goal # 2, (To
enhance our linkages and partnerships to facilitate student success and increase
meaningful collaborations with the community).

Project Goals:

            Identify areas where local employers feel there is a misalignment between
             Community Colleges and their workforce development needs (selected
             industry sectors)
            Identify areas where Community Colleges feel there is a misalignment
             between employers and their academic programs.
            Identify programs (local/national) that have been developed and successfully
             addressed this issue.
            Outline a model which RCC (and hopefully other Massachusetts Community
             Colleges) can follow.


My initial approach was to research the most recent data available to support my theory.
This was not difficult as the topic of aligning community colleges and workforce
development became a key forefront topic nationally, as well as here in the
Commonwealth. For a while, it appeared that I could not keep up with all the new data
and reports being published. It was a topic that was supported by President Barrack in
2009 when he proposed a $2 Billion funding for the American Graduation Initiative to
invest in community colleges to provide skills training for American workers.

I found additional support from other national initiatives such as, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000
Small Businesses Initiative. This is an initiative which targets community colleges, as
the way to assist, small business across the country get the appropriate training, secure
capital and purchase support services, in order to take their business to the next level.

Locally I found supporting information from the newly created Boston Healthcare
Careers Consortium, which published a report in November, 2011 entitled, “Critical

Collaboration: Improving Education & Training Pathways to Careers in Health Care, and
the Massachusetts Annual Workforce Development Conference, in Holyoke, MA.

I was also able to run a focus group with a number of local employers from our
Occupational Advisory Committee. This is a group of local employers which meets
quarterly in support of RCC’s Perkins’s Grant.

Lastly, a source of great information was my own experience in having managed a
Workforce Development program called the Minicomputer Technology Program (MTP)
when I worked for Digital Equipment Corporation. This was a program which aligned 25
community colleges/technical schools across the country, with one major employer in
order to help build a pipeline of future field service technician.

I feel that this combined approach of research, (literature, reports, stakeholders
interviews, focus groups and personal experience provided me with a well round amount
of information to support the alignment of community colleges and workforce
development initiative.


September 11, 2011 – The Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium provided a draft
document, (later published in November of the same year), entitled “Critical
Collaboration: Improving Education & Training Pathways to Careers in Health Care”

In this report, the consortium stated that the healthcare sector was the largest employment
sector in Boston and that according to the Commonwealth Corporation, 19% of all bobs
in Boston are in health care. The report also stated that while job opportunities in the
healthcare industry are numerous, the paths to these jobs can be unclear. The report
stated that many of these jobs require very specific academic credentialing and
certifications. So as a result, Boston has healthcare employers who have jobs they want
to fill but are having trouble filling, and people who are interested in careers in health
care are unable to connect to an opportunity for which they posses the right
qualifications. The report stated that the gap between the available workforce and jobs is
likely to worsen as the economy improves and current skilled workers retire.

Finally, the report also stated that improving training and education pathways to career in
health care will help improve more people connect to in-demand jobs and help employers
hire the diverse, high quality workforce they need to deliver excellent patient care.

November 2011 – The Boston Foundation published a report titled “The Case for
Community Colleges: Aligning Higher Education and Workforce Needs in

The Boston Foundation Boston Foundation in its recently released report cited the
President in his White House Summit on Community Colleges, “community colleges will
play a crucial role in training American workers to compete in the global economy.”

The Foundation’s report cited another report released in 2010, a report by the Federal
Reserve Bank of Boston which stated that 40 percent of the college graduates available to
employers do not have the necessary applied skills to meet their needs.

Also cited was a study from the Georgetown University Council on Competitiveness:
Center for Education and the Workforce, which showed that the education required for
jobs in the United States (beyond high school) rose from 29 percent in 1973 to 56 percent
in 1992 and is projected to grow to 62 percent by 2018. The same study stated that at the
same time, the percentage of the adult population, ages 25-64, with a two-year degree has
declined from 51 percent to 48 percent in the period from 1997 to 2008.

The Boston Foundation report states that the stats of Massachusetts addition of more jobs
than most other stated during the current recession “has not benefited anyone”. The
Boston Foundation, through the Report, implies that these new jobs are going unfilled,
while traditional jobs are disappearing and more people are becoming unemployed.

The Foundation report stresses the need for community colleges to align with workforce
development in order to better serve the ranks of unemployed workers and better serve
the workforce needs of the Commonwealth’s employers. The report recommends that
community colleges become leaders in meeting the workforce needs of Massachusetts
and went as far as recommending a “blueprint” for building a system that effectively
leverages the capacity of the colleges.

While the Boston Foundation Report would lead you to believe that this well-funded
study has revealed a breakthrough in Workforce Development and Community Colleges;
I found (through brief internet research) that the alignment of Community Colleges and
Workforce Development has been a concept that has been around since the first quarter
of the 20th century.

According to a report from the Wikipedia organization,
nity_colleges) “during the 1920s and 1930s there was a shift in the purpose of community
colleges to developing a workforce, which was influenced by wide unemployment during
the Great Depression. Developing "semiprofessionals" became dominant national
language to describe junior college students.”

This “not so new” Community College and Workforce Development alignment concept
was further supported from my personal experience in having managed a program called
“Minicomputer Technology Program” (MTP) back in 1985, while employed as a training
manager for the old Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).

Back in the early 1980’s the company was in great need for “Filed Service Technicians”
throughout the country. Back then we were going out to Community Colleges and
Technical Schools and hiring graduates from their technology programs, only to find out
that they could not do the job and had to be trained in house. This was very costly to the
company. We were spending money on training while at the same time having
unproductive employees on our payroll.

Instead we developed a program that would partner with two year schools across the
country. The program was designed as follows:

      We would seek two year schools who wanted to partner with us.
      We would provide input to the curriculum (hard and soft skills)
      We would train the faculty at our training centers (no cost to the schools)
      We would provide equipment at 50% discount to the schools and equipment
       support at no cost from our local field service centers (the same place where
       graduates would end up working once hired).
      We would provide Job Readiness Training (from our HR Departments)
      We would come out and interview candidates upon program completion and hire
       all those qualified.
      Students did not have to commit to come to work for us and we did not have to
       commit to hire them.

Benefits to the Community College/Technical Schools:

      State of the Art Training Program/state of the art equipment
      A well trained student body ready to be hired by industry
      Well trained faculty with knowledge of latest technology and best practices
      Providing great service to their community

Benefits to the Company:

      A well trained workforce who hits the floor running and can be productive
      Reduction in ramp-up costs
      People who were not hired would still be working on our equipment and increase
      All trained would eventually become decision makers and prefer our equipment
      Good relations with the Community

Benefits to the students: Priceless…

January 2012 – During his “State of the Commonwealth Address” Governor Deval L.
Patrick; the Governor asked “How can we have so much opportunity available and so
many people still looking for their chance?

“On Monday, January 23, 2012, in his annual State of the Commonwealth address,
Governor Deval Patrick proposed a set of reforms to help Massachusetts community
colleges provide residents looking for work with the skills they need to help fill the
estimated 120,000 current job openings in the state. The proposal calls for the fifteen
individual community college campuses to come together as a unified, state-wide system
offering a more streamlined curriculum as well as locally-developed, regionally specific
jobs and skills training.

By aligning a unified community college system with employers, vocational-technical
schools and Workforce Investment Boards, the Governor’s proposal will give community
colleges the tools they need to help get people back to work. In order to help the
community colleges meet this mission, Governor Patrick proposed a $10 million increase
in funding as well as a streamlined budget and leadership selection process for the

 “A central piece of our economic recovery strategy is ensuring that the skills of our
workforce meet the evolving needs of our employers,” said Governor Patrick. “That’s
why we are advancing a new and innovative mission for our community colleges, to train
highly-qualified candidates for jobs in every corner of the Commonwealth. I look
forward to partnering with our community colleges, educational professionals, students
and the business community in these efforts.”

"By working with community colleges in all regions of the Commonwealth,
Massachusetts has the opportunity to increase partnerships between academia and
industry to provide more workforce training resources to help students, employers and
job seekers advance critical skills," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of
the Governor's STEM Advisory Council.

The Administration’s plan to increase the budget and centralize the leadership selection
processes of community colleges will ensure a cohesive system of education and skills
training responsive to the needs of local employers.

Under the proposal, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) will have the authority to
allocate all state funding to community colleges in Massachusetts, consolidating fifteen
separate funding lines into a single line item within the Department of Higher Education
budget. The BHE will be responsible for developing a system for making funding
allocations to the individual community colleges that will take into account enrollment
data; institutional performance and innovation; the creation of “stackable credentials” and
credits that can be easily transferred across campuses; and the creation of new programs
that are better aligned with regional labor market needs.

This plan also gives the BHE authority to establish new parameters for the setting of
student fees at the community colleges and the use of revenues generated from these fees
to ensure an appropriate and efficient use of taxpayer and student dollars.

Additionally, the Administration’s plan creates new guidelines governing the selection
processes for community college presidents, and also charges the BHE with establishing
new procedures for the annual review of presidents. Clearly established selection
processes and comprehensive performance reviews will help ensure excellence in
leadership and a coherent vision throughout the entire system of community colleges
across the state.

“This strategy will help us create the structure and incentives necessary to operate an
integrated and comprehensive community college system,” said Secretary of Education
Paul Reville. “A more unified vision among our campuses will better serve our students,
our employers and our Commonwealth in the long-term.”

“Our community colleges are in a unique position to provide targeted workforce
development,” said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein.
“That training and course work is especially important given the gap that exists between
the skill sets of job seekers and the skill sets employers need. It will ensure that students
entering the workforce are better qualified for job opportunities in their respective

Taken together, these changes will strengthen the historical role of community colleges
of offering high-quality training and certification programs so that students can
immediately enter the workforce – as well as create seamless pathways to additional
educational opportunities.

"By leveraging our community colleges, streamlining the system, and aligning the
mission, we can reverse this prediction by providing our workers with the skills they need
to fill the jobs of the future in all areas of the Commonwealth,” said John Fish, CEO of
Suffolk Construction. “I applaud the Administration for its focus & commitment on this
issue, and believe it will allow us to continue to prosper as we grow our strong
Knowledge Based Economy."

"This could not come at a better time and will be a shot in the arm for the economy. We
fully support increased funding tied to substantial updates to the structure and alignment
of community colleges in Massachusetts,” said Andrew H. Tarsey, Executive Director of
the Progressive Business Leaders Network. “There are many companies ready to be a full
partner on this project with the Governor and with the colleges themselves."

"Workforce development must be a top priority in 2012 and beyond,” said Kip Hollister,
CEO of Hollister Inc. “There is a clear competency gap and reform at the community
colleges can only help us develop and retain talent in Massachusetts. This is a
fundamental jobs issue and a big step in the right direction."

“Community colleges play a critically important role in helping Massachusetts develop a
workforce that is second-to-none,” said Sue Parsons of the Workforce Solutions Group.
“We support measures that align our state’s community college system with employers’
needs for training and mid-level skills development. A highly skilled, well educated
workforce is our state’s most important competitive advantage, which enables
Massachusetts to compete effectively in the global economy.”

The Governor stated that, “We can do something about that. We can help people get
back to work. And our community colleges should be at the very center of it.”

The Process

As previously stated, my approach was to identify date which supported the concept that
community colleges can help meet the needs of local employers. I wanted to support this
data through validation from employers themselves.

I developed a project plan with my goals desired outputs and activities and set out to
execute. This helped me stay organized and focused.

My plan included doing data/literature research, interviewing key players, conducting
focus groups and documenting my own experiences from workforce
development/academic programs.

As I worked on the project I fond that access to free time was very difficult to come by.
Much time was needed to go over the large amount of data available on this subject.
There were many times when I had to choose meeting a work deadline, over conducting
an interview or having time to research additional data or writing a literature review.

Having to do literature reviews were the hardest part of the project. This is not strength
of mine. Most of my experience in from working in private industry and in private
industry this is not skill of high priority. That is why you see most corporate executive
get MBAs. I also found what I call structured writing, (having to site and/or quote every
statement you write) to be very difficult. As a non-native English person, I feel that I
need to work on this shortfall.

Workforce development seems to be in the forefront of every elected official and member
of higher education. This may be in part due to the state of the economy and the fact that
the U.S. needs to find a way to get people back to work. As these initiatives get federal
and state funding, everyone wants to get a piece of the action. What I found from this is
that while everyone says that they are board, they do not always agree unless they are
getting access to the funding available.

I also found that in order to secure workforce development funding, some organizations
try to appear as being innovative and coming up with totally new approaches to having

employers work with community colleges, (I.E. The Boston Foundation’s February 2011
Report: When Untapped Talent Meets Employer Need: The Boston Foundation’s Allied
health Strategy”) when in fact, this program was modeled after a model developed by
Sarah Griffen, Executive Director of the Boston Health Care & Research Training
Institute back in 2007.

Below is list of desired outputs and activities which helped guide me through the process:

Expected                  Activities            Outcomes
                          Identify literature
1. Data which supports that                     Useful recommendations were
concept that Community    available on the      identified from:
Colleges can help meet theconcept.                   Boston Healthcare Careers
local Workforce needs.    Review literature             Consortium Report
                          available.                 Putting College Degrees to
                          Identify criteria             Wok 9Boston Globe
                          used for                      magazine 3/4/12 article)
                          determining that the       Boston Foundations Report:
                          concept works.                Case for Community
                                                        Colleges (only the strong
                                                        partnerships with employers
                                                        and the economic
                                                        development community,
2. List of Workforce      Identify programs     Learn and Earn Initiatives Program
Development programs used developed and         in Kentucky
by other Community        implemented across          Goal was to meet the needs
Colleges in the U.S.      the U.S.                        of employers and help
                                                      74 students obtained
                                                          matching funds from 44
                                                          employers for internships
                                                Economic & Workforce
                                                Development through the California
                                                Community Colleges
                                                     Provides industry specific
                                                        training programs
                                                     Provides business
                                                        consulting to small business
                                                     Provides industry data
3. List of                Identify the               College must have
methods/initiatives which methods, initiatives,         Workforce Development as
made these programs       etc, which made               a goal in its strategic plan
successful.               these programs             College must have buy-in
                          successful.                   from both credit/noncredit

                                                              College must have employer
                                                               partners willing to work
                                                              College must dedicate
                                                               resources to support
                                                              College must have support
                                                               from local WIBs and elected

4. List of Workforce needs      Research current        Four major industry sectors in
in Massachusetts and            State and local         Boston:
Boston.                         Workforce needs             Biotech/BioPharma/Med
                                (number of job                 Devices
                                openings, future            Health Care
                                projections, skills         Information Technology
                                needed, education           Entrepreneurship/Energy
                                needed, and career             Efficiency
5. List of state and/or local   Research all known            DOEs Transition to College
initiatives supporting this     initiatives which              Program
concept.                        impact                        Massachusetts Department
                                Massachusetts and              of Higher Education’s
                                Boston.                        Nursing and Allied Health
                                                              Massachusetts Competitive
                                                               Partnership, (MACP)
                                                              Vision Summit
                                                              Massachusetts Community
                                                               College Workforce
                                                               Development transitional
                                                               Agenda (MACCWDTA)
                                                              Boston Healthcare Careers
6. A list of key components     Identify and list key         Stable Leadership (in lieu of
needed to develop a model       components. Map                what is happening)
for Roxbury Community           how these                     Strong Workforce
College, which can also be      components interact            Development Goal in its
with other Community            with one another.              Strategic Plan
Colleges in the state.          Identify criteria for         Employer Partners
                                measuring model               Dedicated Workforce
                                success.                       Development Chief Officer
                                                              Commitment of Resources

Findings and Conclusions

When I first decided on the title of the project I was not sure what I wanted to
accomplish. Initial goals were too ambitious. At first I was going to develop a model
that would re-invent the college system where the approach to education would be from
the Workforce development side. I.E. people would conduct labor market research to
find out where the jobs are in the community (they want to live in). They would then
identify the skill set needed for these jobs including education/training requirements.
They would then do skills analysis to determine what skills they needed and then put
together a learning plan.

My initial thought was that Colleges would adopt a model where every applicant would
go through the Career Services department first, put together a individualized Career Plan
and from there Develop an Individualized Learning Plan which would take them to their
academic plan. Why not? It made perfect sense to me. Why go to school if you are not
sure of what it is that you want to study (what a waste of time, money and resources).
And why study if you do not know what is that you want to do to earn a living? I mean,
if you are going to spend 40+ hours per week working for most of your life, you might as
well do it, while enjoying yourself and earning as much as possible doing it.

Once I started interviewing key players within the College, I realized that the Academic
Departments in the college are much more powerful than Workforce Development in the
college. I also found that that Workforce Development is viewed as a threat to Academic
Development. For a while I though of changing the project goals to the following:

      Identify the benefits of the alignment of the College to Workforce Development
          o In this goal I was thinking that I would be able to show the Administration
               departments the benefits that Workforce development brings to a
               Community College. I also thought boy if I could do at RCC, maybe it
               could be accomplished state-wide lead.
      Demonstrate a successful model of Community College and Workforce
          o Here I thought I could show a win-win model that works
      Show how Workforce Development and Education are both important to the
       needs of the local community
      Outline a process for aligning the College to Workforce Development

The fifteen Massachusetts Community Colleges offer open access to high quality,
affordable academic programs, including associate degree and certificate programs.
Although they are committed to excellence in teaching and learning and provide
academic preparation for transfer to four-year institutions, not all colleges consider career
preparation for entry into high demand occupational fields a priority of their mission.

Community colleges have a special responsibility for workforce development and
through partnerships with business and industry; and they are presently poised to be
leaders in providing job training, retraining, certification, and skills improvement.

Community Colleges also have assumed the responsibility, in the public system, for
offering developmental courses, ESOL programs, and other educational support services
to individuals who seek to develop the skills needed to pursue college-level study or enter
the workforce. This is a taxing burden on the colleges.

Community Colleges are also rooted in their communities. They serve as community
leaders, identifying opportunities and solutions to community problems and contributing
to the community’s economic development.

The current economic environment has positioned Community Colleges as the key
institutions that can retrain the current un/underemployed workforce. This is almost a
throw-back to the role community colleges played in the late 1920s and the 1930s, when
there was a shift in the purpose of community colleges to developing a workforce, which
was influenced by wide unemployment during the Great Depression. When you look ate
the economic state of the country and what has been transforming in the past three to four
years, you can see the similarities.

Community colleges can either accept this role or reject it. The window of opportunity
will not stay open for long. My experience from having worked in education for private
industry is that if the colleges and universities do not assist in providing the skills needed
by industry, either the industry will become a stronger player in the education and
training business, similar to the old days when we saw the emergence of corporate
universities (Digital university), or more and more for-profit organizations will come on
board. If this happens, we could see a shift in government funding, from public higher
education institutions to private industry or for-profit schools. As Nike says “Just Do It”.

       Community College/Workforce Development Alignment Model

Component               Detail                  Expected Outcomes
1. Strong Leadership    College Administration      Strong standing within the
                        must be highly                Department of Higher
                        functioning, in great         Education
                        financial standing, and     Strong standing in the
                        have all accreditations       Community
                        in order.                   Strong standing with the
                                                      Business industry
2. Strategic Planning   Workforce                   Strong commitment to
                        Development must be           Workforce Development
                        one of the College’s        Outlined work plan to support
                        Strategic Plan Goals          Workforce Development
3. Senior               College must have a         All college decisions benefit
Representation          dedicated Chief               Academics and Workforce
                        Workforce                     Development
                        Development Officer,
                        reporting directly to
                        College President or
                        College Provost
4. Employer             Strong partnerships         Access to data on local labor
Partnerships            with key employers in         market
                        in-demand industry          Support from local employers
                        sectors are a must               1. Data on job openings
                                                         2. Data on skills required
                                                         3. Access to internships
                                                         4. Commitment to
                                                             partnering on proposals
                                                             and grants
                                                         5. Input to curriculum

                                                           6. Development of Virtual
                                                               Advisory teams (VATs)
                                                                   a. Employer teams
                                                                      that meet
                                                                      through the use
                                                                      of technology,
                                                                      thus reducing
                                                                      face to face time
                                                      Access to jobs for program
                                                      Access to Subject Matter

                                                   Access to equipment
5. Workforce         Must have a working           Access to WIA funding for
Investment Boards,   relationship/partnership       training of displaced workers
(WIBs) and Career    with local Workforce          Access to employer
Centers, (CCs)       Investment Boards and          partnerships and Special
                     the local Career               Interest Groups (SIGs)
                     Centers                       Access to labor market and
                                                    community demographics data
                                                   Access to potential program
6. Community Based   Must have access to           Access to community needs
Organizations,       community groups and           data
(CBOs)               service organizations         Access to potential program
                                                   Community Buy-in
                                                    Access to community
7. Labor Market      Must have access to           Access to employment trends
Information          real-time Labor Market         (local, regional and national)
                     information for               Access to skills alignment
                     regional and local
                     industry, including job
                     opening, skills
                     inventory, (hard and
                     soft), and growth
8. Program           College must be able to       Ability to align programs with
Alignment            align programs to              employer needs (hard/soft
                     employer needs and             skills, training costs, program
                     with College credit            length)
9. Technology        College needs to have         Ability to quickly identify skills
                     access to Artificial           in demand and job openings
                     Intelligence and
                     Spidering technologies
                     which allow to analyze
                     on-line job adds
10. School           College Credit and            Ability to provide stackable
Alignment            Non-credit departments         credentialing which is aligned
                     must work in                   to industry needs and provide
                     partnership for the            college credits
                     benefit of college
                     students and employer

11. Commitment          College must be able to         Access to classroom/lab space
                        leverage resources              Access to learning center,
                        including space,                 tutoring, library, language labs,
                        technology, faculty and          math clinics, disability services
                        support services
12. Funding             College must be                 Seed money that will allow
                        willing to up-fund               program planning and
                        research programs                development
                        which lead to employer          Funding for professional
                        and student alignment            development and investment

Learning and Development

The concept of creating a model for the alignment of Community Colleges and
Workforce development has been around for a long time. Though it felt that it would be
an easy process to develop and implement, research showed me that this is a complex
undertaking. The issue of the centralization of state’s community colleges came into
play. This was not something that I was expecting but was brought to the forefront by the
Boston Foundation report released in November 2011 report. The report implied that in
order for there to be an alignment between Community Colleges and Workforce
Development, the Community College system must be centralized. One thing became
apparent from the research, in order for the U.S. to have a competitive workforce,
Education (as a whole) and Workforce Development must align

Many of the Community Colleges in Massachusetts have managed to align themselves
with workforce development. This has been achieved through the efforts of the Business
Industry Centers (Workforce Development Managers). These alignments have enable
some community colleges to meet the needs of local employers and provide their
community with access to jobs.

The current alignments in most community colleges have been by specific departments
and not as a college strategy. Presidents have reaped the benefits of the revenue
generated by workforce development programs and have also taken credit for these
initiatives. But a visit to the Massachusetts Community Colleges Business and Industry
Committee meetings will show how difficult this accomplish has been and continues to
be at most colleges.

Nationally and locally, workforce development is getting tremendous attention. This is
as a result of the current state of the economy and the large number of Americans (legal)
that are unemployed. As the federal government directs more funding towards workforce
development, we will see more and more interest from elected officials, the department
of education, and higher education.

Community Colleges need to continue to explore different models of aligning themselves
with workforce development.

Reference/Source List

“Critical Collaboration: Improving Education & Training pathways to Careers in Health
Care”, Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, Nov 2011

“The Case for Community Colleges: Aligning Higher Education & Workforce Needs in
Massachusetts”, The Boston Foundation, Nov 2011

“Putting College Degrees to WORK”, Boston Globe Magazine, May 2012

“Vision Project: Performance Incentive Fund Grant”, Bunker Hill Community College,
January 2011

North Carolina Learn & Earn Program,

“Vision Summit Report” Roxbury Community College, April 2012

“Career Pathways—Partnering to Create a Talent Pipeline”, Kozumplik, Richalene M.,
March 2012

“Curriculum Alignment Report”, Boston Healthcare Careers Consortium, June 2011

“Labor Market Information Updates Report”, Boston Private Industry Council, January

“The Future Role of Community Colleges in Workforce Development”, Maher & Maher,
September 2009

Perkins Grant-Occupational Employer Committee Focus Group, April, 2012



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