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ERIC Number: ED518038
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Modeling the Role of Community Colleges in Increasing Educational Attainment and Workforce Preparedness. BHEF Working Paper
Business-Higher Education Forum (NJ1)
In light of recent data showing that educational attainment rates in the United States have stagnated, the Obama administration and others have called for renewed efforts to bolster higher education outcomes. Strengthening the role of community colleges is undoubtedly an important component of any plan to dramatically increase the number of students earning postsecondary credentials. This project was undertaken by the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project uses a system dynamics modeling approach to develop a framework that can help stakeholders understand the role and potential of community colleges in increasing postsecondary degree attainment and workforce preparedness, either through the lens of a region or an industry sector. It also begins to examine strategies that the community college system could use to increase degree attainment and increase the capacity or efficiency of the community college system to accommodate this growth both generally, and specifically in science, technology, engineering, health and mathematics (STEHM) related disciplines. This report describes the results from a system dynamics modeling approach that was used to examine the community colleges "ecosystem," including the K-12 education system, employers, four-year institutions, government, and local communities. Through this approach, a range of problems, factors of interest, and policy levers were identified and clustered to generate two broad model frameworks. The first, "a regional model", focuses on a community or region and a community college (or colleges). It allows users to explore interactions among government, education, and workforce as they contribute to increasing the number of students earning credentials or degrees with workforce value over time. A second model--"a sectoral model"-- focuses on the labor market dynamics of a single workforce or profession (e.g., the allied health fields) and articulates the relationships between employers and the community college that fuels the future workforce for a particular industry. Appended are: (1) System Dynamics Modeling; (2) Detailed Description of Building a Qualitative System Dynamics Model; and (3) Tables showing various problems and concerns of different stakeholder(s), illustrative examples of challenges and solutions in STEHM and illustrative examples of solutions and strategies to increase enrollment of students in community colleges. (Contains 7 figures and 19 footnotes.) [This paper was prepared by Business-Higher Education Forum and Emtect Solutions.]
Business-Higher Education Forum. 2025 M Street NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-367-1189; Fax: 202-367-2269; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: Students; Teachers; Administrators; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Business-Higher Education Forum
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky