Teachers College, Columbia University

Academic-Occupational Integration as a Reform Strategy for the Community College: Classroom Perspectives

By Dolores Perin

Community colleges play an important role in educating the nation's workforce, and many students go to these institutions for occupational instruction in order to enter or advance in the labor market. However, community college occupational programs have been criticized for narrowness and insufficient concern with literacy and critical thinking. At the same time, academic instruction has been characterized as irrelevant and unmotivating to students preparing for careers.

Integrating occupational and academic instruction may help overcome these problems, and this article presents case studies of classrooms integrating occupational and academic instruction in seven community colleges in several states. Interviews with faculty and administrators identified purposes, advantages, and disadvantages of this approach.

Findings suggest that integrated instruction has potential as an educational reform in community colleges but needs to be systematically evaluated.

This article was published in Teachers College Record, vol. 103, issue 2.