Changing the role of community college and apprenticeship programs


In today’s rapidly changing economic landscape, it is crucial for the United States to innovate, educate and develop competing countries while providing adequate training for emerging jobs and careers by transferring the skills development programs to community colleges.

Given the high costs of attending a public university and the rigidity of universities to adapt to changing needs, community college skills programs are uniquely positioned as an alternative to help reduce the burden between subsidized funding and funding. private sector financing.

At the same time, community colleges are providing students with the skills they need to enter the workforce and helping employers tackle talent shortages.

Through a redesign, community colleges would be equipped to cope with the changing global economy and help address national security concerns by tackling skills shortages. They could also serve as regional economic development resource hubs while meeting local, state and national needs.

Apprenticeship programs to tackle the shortage of skilled labor

Conventional wisdom asserts that, to a large extent, a four-year degree is the primary driver of a better future. However, during a shortage of skilled labor and efforts to tackle systemic inequalities, more and more companies have become more flexible when it comes to employment requirements, especially in the sector. of technology.

For example, the rise of coding boot camps has been an alternative to four-year degrees, but can still be expensive. Apprenticeship programs are one of the most promising ways to tackle the skills shortage and help reduce the costs of education and getting a job.

The need for computer-related specializations in the professional world has continued to increase. Photo: pressfoto / Freepik

Apprenticeship programs will be a more reliable education in the future, as to research revealed that nearly half of all business activities could become automated over the next few decades as technology advances at breakneck speed.

Technology and traditional education

As technology reshapes the world, it will change economies and job skill requirements. But the education sector will not be able to meet demand, leading to a global shortage of skilled workers.

The world could experience an 85 million skilled worker shortage by 2030, consultancy firm Korn Ferry says estimates. This could result in a loss of annual revenue of more than $ 8.5 trillion.

Technical apprenticeship programs serve as an example of how community colleges can help America be more competitive by helping reduce skill shortages and providing the necessary education and experience. to close the gap. At the same time, these programs provide students with a living wage and future opportunities.

Revitalize community colleges

Students are not getting the skills to qualify for many jobs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the switch to e-learning platforms has dramatically reduced costs and provided simpler, cheaper products that are great learning tools.

This is an opportunity for the private and public sectors to collaborate with community colleges. Now is the perfect time to revitalize community colleges to provide the tools and skills our people need to meet the ever-changing demands of the job market.

Happy students walking together on campus
Community colleges can help provide the tools and skills America needs to meet the ever-changing demands of the job market. Photo: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock

Big tech companies need to redouble their efforts to collaborate with community colleges to develop certificate programs. In turn, these programs could turn into apprenticeships that fill job shortages and provide all kinds of businesses with a pool of direct talent to choose from.

National security ramifications

In addition to keeping America competitive, there are also important national security ramifications that stem from the inability to fill jobs in areas such as cybersecurity.

More recently, Microsoft has stepped up its efforts to try and resolve what it called “A national cybersecurity skills crisis”. The company announced a scholarship program for U.S. community colleges and to supply “Free curriculum at all public community colleges nationwide, teacher training at 150 community colleges, scholarships and other resources for 25,000 students.” “

president of microsoft Brad smith explained that we are not doing a good job of fending off cyber attacks due to the lack of qualified people to fill all the required positions. It further shows the need for continued expansion of community colleges to fill the skills gap for our country.

The workforce of tomorrow

Ultimately, community colleges can offer both degree programs that prepare students for employment in traditional and emerging careers, as well as non-degree programs leading to industry certifications.

Community colleges can also retrain and retrain the American workforce by developing personalized training programs in collaboration with local industries. This creates an opportunity for companies like Amazon and Google to deliver bespoke certificates in industries like cybersecurity and build their own talent pools.

The engine of workforce development in our economy is found in community colleges. Ensuring a leading role in the innovation economy is essential to our future economic success as a nation. We can only do this if we train the next generation of workers to effectively use our technological tools and resources to design, create and innovate new systems.

It is time to make our community college system a symbol of pride and undergo a cultural shift where people no longer have to go to the most expensive schools and go into the most debt to get a high paying job.

If done successfully, we can retrain our workforce to prepare for the future while providing people with better opportunities.


Portrait of KirichenkoDavid Kirichenko works in security engineering in a large technology company. He previously served on the Seattle Community Technology Advisory Board.

WARNING: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The College Post.


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