Community colleges must reach out more to communities

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Canada Goose online These are times of deep distrust of higher learning institutions, canada goose outlet in new york with colleges and universities having lost their standing with some of the public. It’s clear that not everyone shares the belief that campuses serve as engines of thoughtful discourse and equality. Canada Goose online

canada goose coats As an educator, it is easy to Canada Goose Jackets UK blame politics and partisan polarization for this disagreement about the value of higher education. It is more difficult to think critically about the widespread beliefamong educators that they, not the communities they purport to canada goose outlet online store serve, know best. For those in our communities, lofty and abstract notions tied to a college education bear little meaning if a canada goose outlet online store review degree does canada goose outlet legit not actually improve their lives in some tangible way. canada goose coats

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canadian goose jacket When I became the president of Seward County Community College in 2015, there was a distinct gulf between what the college offered and what our surrounding community and canada goose outlet store montreal region needed. The town of Liberal, canada goose outlet in montreal Kan., which our college calls home, is a rural community of roughly 21,000 on the buy canada goose uk southwestern border with Oklahoma. It is the definition of rural working class. The region relies heavily on the oil and gas industry for jobs. National BeefPacking, which employees 3,500, is the economic heartbeat of canada goose jacket outlet sale our community. canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose sale Liberal was once a place where a high school graduate could get a decent paying job that provided a comfortable life. But those days are largely over. Automation across industries has taken hold and canada goose outlet florida farms continue to canada goose outlet nyc consolidate into corporate interests. The type of available jobs in our community has shifted and in the place of the reliable careers of yesteryear is a burgeoning skills gap like that afflicting many communities across the country. The skills gap was expanding every day. As a result, we were missing opportunities to enroll students and set them forth on the path to canada goose shop uk earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree that would lead to gainful employment. Canada Goose sale

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Canada Goose Jackets We had to rethink what our college looked like and how it canada goose outlet uk fake served our community. We needed to work harder to understand what the community needed and valued. We saw that to remain relevant in canada goose coats uk empowering the region required us to accept the reality that we must focus on the changing needs in skills canada goose outlet in chicago and training and flexible access for all students. The challenges of shifting demographics and the economic and life realities of the students who walk through our doors reveal themselves daily. The challenges for first generation college students a majority of our incoming classes and non traditional students who juggle parenthood canada goose outlet in canada and other life demands, are the center of our focus. Canada Goose Jackets

buy canada goose jacket The National Student Clearinghouse found in 2016 only 59 percent of rural high school grads enroll in college canada goose vest outlet a rate lower than urban and canada goose outlet online suburban peers. According to a recent federal study, 28 percent of rural adults have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees 13 percentage points lower than the share for urban adults. And despite evidence that higher education offers tangible economic benefits, rural white Americans are more likely than those in cities canada goose uk site and suburbs to believe that their children will be worse off financially than them, according to a Pew survey. Adding to our picture in Liberal is the significant immigrant community. Many canada goose outlet buffalo of those immigrants don’t know how or when to access an institution like ours. buy canada goose jacket

canada goose clearance However, community colleges are uniquely positioned to tackle these issues. According to a recent New America survey, four out of five Americans view community colleges as worth the cost and nearly 90 percent view apprenticeships and skills training as effective ways to prepare students for a good living. canada goose clearance

buy canada goose jacket So we changed our approach. We now start by asking people in the community what they need. We invest the time to engage with our students canada goose factory outlet when they start in order to understand their specific interests and needs. We elicit meaningful input from regional business and industry partners, to learn what they seek in employees. Most important, we don’t presume that our notions of higher education and its value are the same as those held by our community, and we ensure that our offerings are tailored to our students not the other way around. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose sale For instance, over the past three years, we’ve led the way in our state with programs like our „A OK“ courses canada goose outlet niagara falls Accelerating Opportunity Kansas. These provide adult basic education pathway programs in professions like welding, commercial truck driving, and phlebotomy. We also introduced innovative BlendFlex classes aimed at reducing the barriers that interfere with attaining an education, be it a sick child, a revamped work schedule, or the need to take on an additional shift at work. Life happens. So canada goose jacket outlet we’re being as flexible and accessible as possible. Canada Goose sale

cheap Canada Goose Refining programs that work canada goose outlet paypal for the needs of our community without sacrificing the quality of our education hasn’t been easy or simple. The fact is that we had a lot of work to do to reconnect with the longstanding regional community members and forge understanding withour newcomers. I’d wager that the same is true of many community colleges and other higher education institutions around the country. But that shouldn’t deter us. cheap Canada Goose

canada goose The comfortable world of academia must own its shortcomings. Now, more than ever, our society needs strong community colleges. We need them to canada goose outlet vip focus first on the community aspect of our missions, and we need communities that believe in the work that we do. As community colleges, if we take the time to create a shared language with our neighbors, we’ll have the opportunity to throw open the doors and invite more people in at a moment when society desperately needs it canada goose.