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A History: How Government Policy Shaped the Relationship Between Community Colleges and Workforce Development
May 21, 2021

Government policy has shaped community college throughout history. The establishment of community colleges has enabled the U.S. government to provide incentives, support, and legislation to shape public education in a very direct way. Educating Americans – and creating a skilled workforce for American business – has become an important responsibility that has developed into a key pillar of government’s support of education.

Community colleges in America have governmental policy roots dating back to 1862. The Morrill Act of 1862 (the Land Grant Act) provided land to states to build public community colleges. This expanded access to higher education in America. The second Morrill Act in 1890 further expanded access to the masses. This act withheld federal funds from colleges who refused to admit students due to their race, unless those states provided a separate but equal institution [1]. In 1954, an additional step towards equality of education was made. In the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case, the justices unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This ruling expanded public educated to all previously disenfranchised Americans who desired equal higher education opportunities [2].

In 1901 the first community college was founded. Joliet Junior College was located in Illinois and enrolled a total of six students [3].  Fun fact: today, Joliet Junior College serves more than 30,000 students! Community colleges developed slowly over the years. Enrollment rates increased during and after World War I. This is because specialized training was provided to support the war effort and educate the returning workforce [4].

The peak growth period for community colleges coincided with the end of World War II. One community college was being established every week during this period! The increased interest in community college was spurred by a major government policy in 1944: the G.I. Bill [5]. This bill made education attainable by service members. Returning service members used these benefits to attend community college to gain new and relevant skills, enabling gainful entrance into the workforce. As a result of this bill, 2.2 million veterans attended college [6]. Veterans used this education to learn advanced ways to farm or learn new trades that enabled economic and social mobility.

In 1947, the Truman administration's first report on public higher education was created. The Truman Commission Report supported equality of opportunity for all and a massive expansion of higher education. It "called for the establishment of a network of public community colleges that would charge little or no tuition, provide cultural centers, serve the local areas, and offer a comprehensive curriculum" [7].

In 1965, the Higher Education Act created Pell Grants. This allowed students who were unable to pay for college to receive grants to attend higher education institutions. Pell Grants are still rewarded today and have made community college an option for low-income students [8]. Government funding to community colleges and their students is essential to the community college system. And over time, the funding and support of community colleges increased.

Presidential campaigns often include plans for educational reform. Currently, modernizing workforce training in higher education settings is high on President Joe Biden's to-do list. Specifically, President Biden proposed putting $50 billion into workforce training. This funding is designed to create partnerships among community colleges, businesses, unions, universities, and high schools, as well as state, local, and tribal governments [9]. These initiatives result in the revitalization of community colleges and their core goal of training their local workforces for advancing industries. In 2021, the Department of Labor budgeted $3.6B towards employment services [10].

Community colleges serve a vital role in educating America's workforce. Throughout history, the federal government has supported the development and expansion of community colleges to enable Americans to have access to skills required to enter the workforce. Through continuous funding and legislation, workforce development will become even more advanced and provide countless students with the skills needed for gainful employment. The federal government has made access to education a priority by providing funds to institutions and students. Community colleges can go further by offering classes that are accessible to the masses as well. This can be done with an online learning platform.

How Can Your Community College Easily and Quickly Launch an Online Learning Platform?

Access to education is vital for a developed nation. The government has been and continues to be responsible for making higher education an accessible option for students. As previously mentioned, community colleges can further the goal of accessibility by offering workforce development certificates and courses online. This can be done easily by partnering with an online platform and content creation provider.

An online learning platform should include:

  • Custom branding to drive brand loyalty 
  • Custom curated upskilling courses that are relevant to your students 
  • Integrated AI technology to pull accurate, up-to-the-minute data, provide automation for grading, and personalize the learning experience to make it more engaging 
  • Integrated advanced data analytics paired with AI to provide personalized learning insights to employees, and insights and reports to the employer 
  • Intuitive and easy to use platform design that requires no training 
  • Engaging features that build community and solidify learning 
  • Proven high retention rates 

With an online learning platform, community colleges can expand on their mission to develop the local workforce. An affordable, flexible and accessible option will add value to your college.

Amesite Offers a Single, Easy to Use, Scalable Solution

Launch an online learning platform that can meet the workforce development needs of today and work in tandem with the government to provide accessible workforce development opportunities.

Amesite is the premier online learning ecosystem provider on the market today and is well-positioned to provide your community college with the platform and content needed to upskill America's workforces and prepare for the future of work.

Amesite delivers a high-tech AI-enabled online learning platform, creates scalable, custom-branded learning environments, and curates content using experts in the industry that follow best practices, meeting your college's unique needs. A host of self-paced, highly engaging, and intuitive courses can be ready for your university in as little as 30 days.

Amesite can provide your community college with numerous revenue streams using turnkey, intuitive micro-credentials, summer camps, and alumni/professional upskilling programs, as well as traditional online course curriculums. All of which require no training to use and allow your college to take full advantage of the immediate needs that these programs satisfy. Amesite is a budget-conscious choice because the is no investment in IT staff or training required to use the platform.

Amesite's system uses established social media formats to help learners access the content in a familiar setting. These mechanisms streamline the learning process. Amesite's platform also gives users the experience of learning with a community, a valuable addition to the online education experience. Engaging features like video chat and live streaming connect instructors and other students virtually to enhance and solidify learning.  Amesite has an outstanding and industry-leading 98% retention rate. 

Provide accessible and affordable educational opportunities to the community you serve. Request a Demo!

Check out some of our customer success stories: The Henry Ford,Wayne State University.

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Resources:  

[1] Virginia Community College System. 2003. Community Colleges in America: A Historical Perspective. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876835.pdf Accessed May 14, 2021. 

[2] History. May 13, 2021. Brown vs. Board of Education. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/brown-v-board-of-education-of-topeka Accessed May 20, 2021.

[3] Joliet Junior College. History.  https://www.jjc.edu/about-jjc/history#:~:text=History%20%7C%20Joliet%20Junior%20College&text=With%20an%20enrollment%20of%20six,became%20America's%20First%20Community%20College. Accessed May 14, 2021.

[4] Virginia Community College System. 2003. Community Colleges in America: A Historical Perspective. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876835.pdf Accessed May 14, 2021.

[5] Virginia Community College System. 2003. Community Colleges in America: A Historical Perspective. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876835.pdf Accessed May 14, 2021.

[6] Virginia Community College System. 2003. Community Colleges in America: A Historical Perspective. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876835.pdf Accessed May 14, 2021.

[7] Virginia Community College System. 2003. Community Colleges in America: A Historical Perspective. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876835.pdf Accessed May 14, 2021.

[8] College Scholarships. 2021. The Pell Grant. http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/pell.htm Accessed May 14, 2021.

[9] SHRM. Nov. 30, 2020. Biden Seeks to Strengthen Registered Apprenticeship Program, Modernize Workforce Training. https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/Pages/Biden-Seeks-to-Strengthen-Registered-Apprenticeship-Program-Modernize-Workforce-Training.aspx Accessed May 14, 2021.   

[10] DOL. 2021. https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ETA/budget/pdfs/FY2022BIB_ETA.pdf. Accessed October 11, 2021.