ERIC Number: ED503447
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Noncredit Enrollment in Workforce Education: State Policies and Community College Practices
Van Noy, Michelle; Jacobs, James; Korey, Suzanne; Bailey, Thomas; Hughes, Katherine L.
American Association of Community Colleges (NJ1)
Postsecondary noncredit education has become increasingly common; many community colleges now enroll more noncredit than credit students. Much of the growth has occurred in workforce instruction and contract training, programs are noted for their role in meeting shifting workforce demands and providing skills in a way that is flexible and responsive to employer needs. Growth in this sector raises questions about whether colleges are keeping pace with need, using resources efficiently, and providing access to all students. This report describes a study conducted by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) that explores the overarching issues affecting community college noncredit workforce education. Specifically, the study examined: (1) the extent to which noncredit workforce education and state policies play a role in workforce development, provide disadvantaged groups with access to higher education, and generate revenue for colleges; (2) how colleges organize their noncredit workforce programs to balance the tradeoffs between the desired flexibility of noncredit education and the integration of credit and noncredit programs; and (3) the extent to which noncredit workforce education provides recorded outcomes for students, such as transcripts or industry certifications, and the extent to which outcome data are available. Study findings lead to five key recommendations: (1) Provide state funding to support noncredit workforce education with clear and targeted goals that promote workforce development and help students access credit education by cultivating better ties to career pathways; (2) Encourage increased coordination between credit and noncredit programs to benefit both students and employers; (3) Better assess student needs and support efforts to recruit noncredit students into credit programs and to articulate noncredit and credit programs to promote student transfer, when appropriate; (4) Explore the development of nondegree forms of validation for all noncredit workforce education and standard systems to record outcomes that promote the portability of evidence of skills for students and accountability for colleges and state workforce education funds; and (5) Collect more information on individual and employer outcomes from noncredit workforce education to assess the contributions of noncredit workforce education for students, employers, and the economy. Five appendixes are included: (1) Departments and Additional Resources Consulted; (2) State Policies on Noncredit Workforce Education; (3) State Policies on Noncredit Workforce Education in Case Study College States; (4) Description of Case Study Colleges; and (5) Summary of Findings and Recommendations. (Contains 9 figures and 4 tables.) [This study was conducted in collaboration with the National Council for Workforce Education and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training. Funding for the study on which this report is based was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Descriptors: Postsecondary Education, Continuing Education, Noncredit Courses, Community Colleges, Role of Education, Labor Force Development, Contract Training, Disadvantaged, Access to Education, Program Design, Outcomes of Education, Educational Policy, Public Policy, Student Needs, Transfer Students, Articulation (Education)
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20015. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; Web site: http://www.aacc.nche.edu
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: American Association of Community Colleges