Powerful Partners: Businesses and Community Colleges

In 2016, 46 percent of U.S. employers had unfilled positions, yet 17 million Americans reported being either unemployed or working part-time when they wished to work full-time. One strategy to respond to this problem is to create partnerships between postsecondary institutions and industry, to provide students with both academic and workforce training. This report from by the National Skills Coalition (NSC) showcases examples of successful community college and business partnerships in Louisiana, Minnesota and Illinois.

This report discusses how reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) provides a renewed opportunity to promote these partnerships through federal policy. When HEA was reauthorized in 2008, it supported grants to postsecondary institutions that collaborated with employers to offer job-training in high-growth and high-wage fields. However, after the first year these grants were not funded. With HEA up for reauthorization again, lawmakers have the opportunity reevaluate how college and employer relationships can be built up at the federal level.

This paper encourages Congress to provide targeted funding to impactful community college-business partnerships through HEA reauthorization.