Community Colleges Essential for a Resilient Workplace; Wake Up Leaders!

A recent The New York Times article entitled, “It Takes a B.A. To Find A Job As A File Clerk” focuses on an Atlanta law firm that requires every employee – including the in-house courier making $10/hour – to have a bachelor’s degree.  The firm’s managing partner said that this requirement shows that every employee has made “a commitment” to their future and not just a paycheck. The comment section was closed otherwise I would have responded with a resounding, “NOT SO!” I just returned from addressing the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCA) and walked away even more convinced in the validity of community colleges.  To be sure, community colleges serve as feeders for transferring students to four-year colleges.  Just as vital, however, is the role these schools play in creating sharp, career-focused professionals in certificate programs for health-related fields, technology, agriculture, manufacturing and more. What an arrogant law firm to think that ONLY BA students are committed. Where would our workforce be without the men and women who become our firefighters, police officers, skilled technicians, and computer programmers? In California, 80% of veterans are enrolled to increase their skills for employment in a world very different from the battlefields.  Are they “less committed”? Community colleges develop workers who are trained in solar, wind, alternative fuels, alternative transportation and biotech. Seventy percent of the nurses in California are trained in community colleges. Bill Gates did not need a BA. I would call him “committed”. So are the majority of students who look to community colleges to help them succeed. Last word: Support your community colleges. They are the keystone between high school and entering the adult world as productive, committed citizens. PS: Wonder if that Atlanta law firm would like to PAY for every employee to get a BA. Might take some of the hot air out of their hiring practices.

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