The primary mission of the community colleges in the state where I teach is the following:
The mission of the … Community College System is to open the door to high-quality, accessible educational opportunities that minimize barriers to post-secondary education, maximize student success, develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce, and improve the lives and well-being of individuals by providing:
- Education, training and retraining for the workforce including basic skills and literacy education, occupational and pre-baccalaureate programs.
- Support for economic development through services to and in partnership with business and industry and in collaboration with the University of …System and private colleges and universities.
- Services to communities and individuals which improve the quality of life.
For whom, then, were community colleges created?
They were created for those high school graduates who can not get an education any other way or were unprepared for the rigors of college, for those young high school graduates who want a four-year degree without crushing debt, for those who are the first in their families to attend college, for young adults who spent their first years out of high school seeking direction and are now ready to commit to their studies, to those who were unsuccessful at their first attempts at higher education and need a fresh start.
Community colleges are for parents, especially those with few resources, who want to make life better for their children, for workers languishing in low-wage jobs who want opportunities for advancement, for the veterans who have served their country and now need the country to serve them, for the unemployed who need to be re-educated to enter a new field.
These are the people who should be the primary focus of the community college.
But these days, I have to ask, are we straying from our mission?