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ERIC Number: EJ1043403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Sep-30
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1938-5978
To Close Middle-Skills Gap, Improve Community College Outcomes
Salomon-Fernandez, Yves
New England Journal of Higher Education, Sep 2014
For southern New England, the middle-skills gap is projected to become acute by 2020, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Historically and currently, the middle-skills labor pool in Massachusetts has been significantly below national rates and has been recently experiencing a decline. Closing the middle-skills gap depends on improving community college outcomes. Improving the outcomes of community college student outcomes is not just a taxpayer accountability issue; it is an economic imperative of the state. While some may make the argument that college is not for everyone, Massachusetts is a knowledge-driven economy requiring some postsecondary credential to make a family-sustaining wage in positions that offer a career ladder. One option that the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education launched is the Completion Incentive Grant Fund which targeted low-income, first-time degree-seeking students at the state's public higher education institutions and provided them with a cash incentive intended to help defray some of the costs of books if the students completed between 9 and 15 credits. The program is in its final year being run as a pilot, and evaluation data are being collected to measure its effectiveness. Closing the middle skills gap in key industries that underpin the New England economy is both a short-and long-term necessity and community colleges provide an existing structure for preparing the labor force to close the gap. The challenge ahead for business and industry, higher education and policymakers is how to raise community college student outcomes in ways that are scalable and sustainable and that address the root cause of the problem.
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A