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ERIC Number: ED512262
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Build upon the Strength's of America's Community Colleges
Jacobs, James
Brookings Institution
In February 2009, Macomb Community College held an unusual student "graduation" in a suburban office building. There were 25 "graduates"--all males, many of whom had 10 to 15 years of experience as auto body designers working for original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) and their suppliers in the Detroit metropolitan area. They were all former graduates of the college's Auto Body Design program. They were also unemployed, because their skills were no longer needed, a result of the downsizing of the domestic auto industry. However, with support from the local workforce board, these individuals had just completed a college course to transition their auto design talents into designing nuclear power plants, petroleum refineries, and new subways being built overseas. They were mastering the lexicon and techniques of design due to collaboration with Macomb College and a local employment service firm, Talascend, which was going to market them to companies in the Southwest with a need for design talent. The end goal, however, was not for these individuals to leave the Detroit area. Rather, the strategy was to seek design work that could be brought back into their community, creating new markets and new opportunities for designers. This project is one small example of how community colleges are working to create new jobs and economic opportunities in auto-impacted and other older industrial metros throughout the Great Lakes region, and around the nation. In fact, there is a community or technical college within 30 minutes of every major center of auto production in the United States. These institutions, which were created by state and often local policies, have the potential to serve as a vital part of a federal response to the needs of these communities as they struggle to regain their economic footing. This paper examines that potential. It will outline the challenges that community colleges face under current federal policy, as well as suggestions for specific reforms that would significantly strengthen their capacity to provide the specialized training and education workers and businesses in the Great Lakes region need to compete in the next economy. (Contains 20 endnotes.
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Brookings Institution
Identifiers - Location: Michigan; United States