Employment is low, but firms are still having trouble finding qualified workers. Community colleges can serve to bridge the gap, but we need to radically change both the college and firms’ approaches to workforce development.
If we expand the role community colleges play in workforce development, we can begin to address the gaps in education and workforce skills that are preventing firms from finding the workers they need. Our biggest obstacles are lack of involvement from firms, the short-term view of community college education, and lack of funding.
If firms proactively partner with community colleges, or vice versa, firms can assist with developing a labor pool of workers with the exact skills they need. This usually involves an investment from firms – either visiting with students, donating funds or equipment, or offering internship and/or apprenticeship tracks for community college students.
This Forbes article discusses the potential opportunities and challenges community colleges will face while expanding their role in their communities and workforce development efforts. It also provides six activities necessary for crafting an excellent workforce development program.