Community colleges have the potential to become much needed engines of economic and social mobility. –Josh Sanburn for TIME
Forty-eight (48) percent of small businesses, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, can find qualified job applicants to fill open positions. At the same time, community colleges, which educate about 40 percent of all undergraduates in the U.S.–are facing declining enrollment.
Less than 40 percent of community college students graduate and many drop out their first year. While more than 80 percent say they want a bachelor’s degree, only 14 percent get one after six years.
While the value of an associate’s degree has never been clearer. The median salary for someone with only a high school diploma is $36,000, for those with a community college degree, it’s $42,500. And the gap is projected to grow as automation transforms the U.S. workforce, making higher-level science, technology, engineering and math skills critical in fields that once required little more than manual dexterity, reports TIME.
More than 11.5 million jobs were created in the past recovery years. All but 100,00 of those jobs went to people with some college education.
Community colleges serve two purposes, to help students transfer to a university or place students in jobs. They cater to commuters and nontraditional students and offer a comparative bargain: tuition is roughly one-third that of a university.
Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, has a close relationship with Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), its School of Applied Technology (SAT), and other northern Utah public technical colleges. The Horizonte college scholarship covers three-fourth’s tuition, fees and books at SLCC, classes are smaller, and the college succeeds in transitioning, mentoring and tutoring underrepresented students. All but a few college-bound Horizonte graduates are pursuing applied tech certificates or an associate’s degree there. We view SLCC as the primary source for workforce training in Utah. We’re doing our part in helping SLCC raise its success rates!