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ERIC Number: EJ1092562
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
In Demand: Community Colleges Already Train More than Half the Nation's Health Care Workforce--and Demand for Their Services Is on the Rise
Carnevale, Anthony; Smith, Nicole
Community College Journal, v84 n2 p20-26 Oct-Nov 2013
As health care providers, patients, and employers adjust to the changes related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which promises to extend medical coverage to thirty million previously uninsured Americans, community colleges are gearing up to keep pace with rising economic and societal demands for medical and allied health professionals. Nurses, doctors, and allied and support staff account for two-thirds of workers in this sector--and community colleges train more than half of the entire health care workforce. A number of factors--including the new health care law, advances in technology, and an aging population--ensure that health care is and will likely remain one of the fastest growing and most lucrative career fields for young adults. This article discusses how few pathways offer better potential than community college training programs that take a relatively short time to equip students for jobs with good earning potential in a rapidly growing sector of the economy, such as is the case with health care. It is an especially good bet for students who lack the resources to start their academic career with a four-year commitment to full-time education. The "learn and earn" character of the practicum training associated with many health care jobs is highly appealing to students in this post-recession and credit-strained economic environment, particularly for nontraditional students. As the numbers show, training opportunities at community colleges are not keeping pace with these opportunities. Courses in these areas are more expensive for colleges to teach, due to equipment costs and necessary safety precautions. These problems are exacerbated during difficult economic times, especially when states start bleeding postsecondary education budgets. The inability of community colleges to meet the rising demand for health care training has opened up a marketing niche in the private sector. For-profit institutions now provide nearly half of sub-baccalaureate health care credentials. However, for-profit institutions tend to offer programs in health care support and paraprofessional fields, which pay less than health care professional and technical occupations. The scarcity of community college training programs is, in effect, routing a generation of young people into lower-paying jobs, at the same time that the need for more highly trained health care professionals is on the rise.
American Association of Community Colleges. One Dupont Circle NW Suite 410, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-0200; Fax: 202-833-2467; 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
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A