Teachers College, Columbia University

From Compliance to Capacity Building: Community Colleges and Federal Workforce Education Policy

Today, much workforce preparation occurs at community colleges, and so the federal role in workforce development is likely to include interaction with these colleges. Moreover, as the policy, political, and financial landscape changes, it is again time to update the way that the federal government is involved in workforce education.

In this paper, the author describes the policy levers used by the Department of Education in recent years and argues for a new paradigm, one that privileges capacity-building over compliance. This new direction in federal activities can serve as a mechanism for promoting a more cohesive workforce education system.