Education and Skills Are Key Components to Economic Recovery Action Plan

Community college and business leaders must make deliberate efforts to partner and develop the capacity to train individuals with skills and provide them with relevant degrees because employers are demanding “more practical skills and education” in this competitive economy, according to a recent report released by Business Champions, Inc.

Business Champions, Inc. — a group of more than 30 business, education and philanthropy leaders — last week submitted an action plan, How to Create High-Impact Partnerships for Jobs & Economic Vitality in the U.S., to the White House Summit on Community Colleges. The plan outlines action steps for two key groups: employers/leaders from the business community and community college boards.

The report, focusing on moving from “analyzing America’s skilled workforce problem to implementing solutions,” includes principles aligned or mirrored to NASDCTEc’s vision for CTE. For instance, the report notes that employers must make employee acquisition of career technical skills and credentials a priority and a possibility for individuals. Other areas of alignment include focused on the importance of encouraging the attainment of degrees beyond four-year degrees such as industry-based certifications, two-year credentials, and apprenticeship programs.

Business Champions outline the major initiatives the two groups must make to implement change.

Employers and leaders from the business community can make a difference by:

• Investing in individuals and workers

• Partnering with community colleges to strengthen program relevance and performance

• Making community colleges a focus of corporate philanthropy and corporate social responsibility efforts

• Taking the lead in advocacy for public policies to strengthen community colleges

Community college boards can make a difference by:

• Making workforce development a top priority

• Planning for success and measuring results

• Following the money: Ensuring incentives align with intended outcomes

• Using data-based decision making

• Working effectively with the college president to build the workforce development and partnership agenda

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