Following World War II, “the United States economy promised middle-class jobs to high school graduates,” as Georgetown University’s Anthony Carnevale noted in a 2012 New York Times piece. “As late as the 1970s, more than 70 percent of middle-class jobs still required only high school or less, but between 1973 and 2010, the share of jobs requiring education beyond high school more than doubled, to more than 60 percent from 28 percent.” With today’s employment emphasis on technology and specialization, the expectations lean even more dramatically toward a postsecondary degree. For a growing population of traditional and non-traditional students, that means a two-year community college.
Though often stigmatized and dismissed in the past, community colleges have nonetheless realized a resurgence of interest among learners of all ages, educational backgrounds, skill levels and goals.
To read more about these trends, read our paper “Community Colleges Are Successfully Reinventing Their Mission,” which details how students at community colleges are more satisfied than students in four-year schools and also feel that their community college courses prepare them better for the workplace, compared with four-year schools.