Community and technical colleges are uniquely positioned to work with employers in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship initiatives, in such areas as advanced manufacturing, educational services, financial services, health care, IT and cybersecurity, among others.
Apprenticeship programs at the federal level are regarded as priorities, and they are expanding. The president has issued an Executive Order to promote Expanding Apprenticeships in America (https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/3245/), and Congress has provided for significant increases in annual appropriations for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Apprenticeships. In addition, the administration is leveraging H-1B visa revenues to expand apprenticeship opportunities nationwide.
Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Career and technical education (CTE) programs at community and technical colleges prepare students to enter the workforce with the academic and technical skills needed to compete successfully in the global economy and local job markets. CTE programs employ a career readiness focus and as such, these programs often include theoretical and work-based learning components. Work-based instruction in a hands-on learning environment is at the heart of technical education. This is ensured through guided pathways and competency-based learning. Post-secondary career and technical education credentials are predominately offered through short term certificate programs, industry certifications, apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, and associate degrees.
Enactment of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act in July 2018, a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, provides a multi-year extension of CTE programs at the federal level, including funding increases. Community and Technical College Consortium institutions are working to advocate for new CTE initiatives to benefit two-year public colleges in the years ahead.
Cybersecurity has become a priority concern for government and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Global cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion each year by 2021. Job postings in the cybersecurity field are up 74 percent over the past five years. The deficit of cybersecurity professionals is expected to grow to more than 1.8 million workers globally by 2022.
Many cybersecurity jobs require education and training that can be obtained at community and technical colleges. Students can obtain the skills needed to design, analyze, evaluate, and implement security controls in cyber environments. In addition to preparing students for a career in cybersecurity capacities, these program prepare graduates for professional certifications.
A national cybersecurity apprenticeships webinar was conducted in May 2018, involving federal agency officials and community college leaders. A new project is under development.
Community and technical colleges offer education and technical training to prepare individuals for energy industry workforce. This includes training for upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas career positions, and training programs for nuclear, solar, wind and other energy sector jobs. Public two-year colleges can provide this training on an affordable basis, so that local workers are prepared for energy industry jobs in their communities.
A new Community and Technical College Consortium project under development aims to elevate Entrepreneurship initiatives on a national level, building on the accomplishments of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the League for Innovation in the Community College and other organizations.
Programs for Incarcerated Persons
Correctional education programs can help to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with opportunities to develop the skills required to succeed in the workplace and their community. These programs range from adult basic education, instruction to enable high school dropouts to earn high school credentials, and career and technical education credentials to provide inmates with skills needed to be employable or improve their employability.
Enactment of the First Step Act has the potential to help expand community and technical college prison programs by incentivizing incarcerated students for program completion, vocational training and rehabilitation. Community and Technical College Consortium initiatives will address engagement with national program leaders in connection with this new program.
US Navy Community College Partnership Program
The Navy is developing a unique national partnership program, with funding of up to $147 million, to encourage enlisted Sailors and Marines to enroll in community college courses. Community colleges across the country have an opportunity to become designated as United States Naval Community Colleges.
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