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Ideas for Developing Partnerships with Community Colleges

Community colleges are working with local workforce development entities to provide an academic bridge to out-of-school youth. Below are some specific tips for partnering with workforce communities with community colleges. Further information on connecting to community colleges can be found on the Community College Initiative website.

Why Build Bridges between Workforce Communities and Community Colleges

  • Community colleges can engage employers in developing training that meets labor market demand
  • Community colleges can provide individuals with needed skills
  • Community colleges can engage a wide variety of state and community resources
  • Community colleges can improve the likelihood that low-income youth will realize the full benefit of post-secondary education

Pathways to Community Colleges

There are several established pathways that workforce programs can utilize to connect out-of-school youth, and those youth at-risk of dropping out of school, to post-secondary educational opportunities, especially in community and technical colleges.

Highlights and Success Stories about Community College Collaborations

  • Virginia has developed "Middle College", a pilot program offered at two community college sites, designed to reach youth between the ages of 18 and 24, who need a GED. Youth enroll in a variety of quality, proven courses that enhance basic workforce skills through project-based learning, provide remedial courses as necessary, and allow them to accumulate community college credits towards a degree or certificate.
  • Baltimore, Maryland's "Diploma Plus" program presents drop-outs and youth at risk of dropping out with a set of challenging experiences including community-based projects, internships, and college classes. These classes require academic proficiency, as well as teamwork, maturity, problem-solving and time management skills. A challenging but supportive environment offers an alternative to the traditional school classroom and moves students into work-based experiences. Successful students graduate with a high school diploma and credit for community college coursework.
  • Portland (Oregon) Community College (PCC) Prep Alternative Programs are offered to youth who have left high school before graduating and need support to help them successfully complete their GED and explore future academic opportunities. "Youth Empowered to Succeed" (YES) offers a series of career development and college success classes and offers college credit for each term the youth is enrolled in the GED classes. PCC also offers a "Multi-Cultural Academic Program" (MAP) that assists non-native English speakers who have left school before graduation. In addition to obtaining a GED, youth are helped to improve English reading, writing, and speaking skills, and are prepared for college level classes.