Community colleges train thousands of individuals every year to maintain the critical infrastructure of the state. California 's community colleges train and educate 80% of all of the state 's firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and 70% of all state nurses (CCC Key Facts). Moreover, investment in California community colleges allows for economic growth. For every $1 California contributes to community college education, it will receive a net return of $4.50 to the state 's economic growth (Huelsman).
In the coming years, there will be millions of baby boomers retiring which will lead to a deficit of trained and skilled workers in California. The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that by 2025, there will be a shortage of about 1 million postsecondary degree workers (CCC Key Facts). Community colleges are one of the best resources in solving the shortage as they serve to technically train and develop workers for emerging industries such as energy and health care. The California community college system is not only the largest in the country, but also one of the most cost efficient. Every academic year, the state contributes $5,000 per community college student compared to $11,000 for students at CSU and $20,000 for those at UC (CCC Key Facts). Community colleges are a strong pillars in maintaining California 's economy and infrastructure.
Evolution of Community Colleges
The purpose of community colleges has widely shifted from community education to transfer institutions. During the 1960s, community colleges developed as institutions to allow local individuals to take a few classes to explore their interests. Whether in music or ar...
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...s many locals as possible. This emphasis on maximum enrollment for a low cost has lead to these institutions offering a wide variety of classes and programs that the students have to navigate on their own. The lack of guidance is a persistent issue throughout the history of these institutions. Dr. Herideen describes the idea of hesitant hopelessness in her book in 1998. Hesitant hopelessness is that concept of community colleges providing a second try at succeeding, but without the necessary services and guidance, students are more likely to fail than succeed (Herideen). The key to progress is accountability on students as well as guidance for these students. Rather than debating, small reforms need to be made today to lead the way for massive change in the future. This might start with better analytics to have concrete data on the most ineffective areas to address.
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