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Community and technical colleges support several social and economic missions. The most prominent community college mission is providing open-access pathways for recent high school graduates and adults to pursue postsecondary study. Two-year institutions also support economic and workforce development initiatives, provide general education for students pursuing baccalaureate degrees and award applied associate degrees that produce family-sustaining wages.

Recently, community colleges have received more attention from state and federal policymakers, who view these institutions as increasingly important in achieving college completion goals. The greater demands placed on two-year colleges have magnified the challenges that administrators face.

State lawmakers are beginning to leverage community and technical colleges as laboratories of workforce innovation. Customized employer training adapts current curricula to the skill needs that the private sector demands. In many cases, these programs increase public-private collaboration while also providing institutions with an additional revenue stream for improving programs.

Overall, policymakers have recognized the importance of community and technical colleges both to the completion agenda and to economic viability.

 

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