Investing in community college workforce training is a central part of the Biden administration’s agenda for improving the lives of American families. Now more than ever, as the nation’s economy enters a post-pandemic period of significant organizational and technological change, community colleges are well-situated to help millions of low-income Americans, particularly adults, get back into and advance in the labor market.
This brief highlights ways in which new federal funding can best support community college workforce training. It first describes the landscape of community college workforce education and presents evidence on the earnings and employment outcomes of students who earn workforce credentials. Next, it reviews current CCRC research on how innovative community colleges are responding to evolving skill demands from employers and to ongoing needs both for better integration of degree and non-degree programming and for more robust student support services. It concludes with suggestions on how a federal investment could encourage community colleges to expand and improve their workforce efforts by strengthening their capacity to deliver high-quality programs and by reducing inequities in access and outcomes by race and income.