Community colleges – as we call them in North Carolina – or technical colleges in other states, are an important part of our higher education system. What is the mission of community colleges today, and has it changed?
- original mission of most community and technical colleges – including those in NC – was to train individuals for careers needing training beyond high school
- But not needing a 4-year college degree
- so focused on the trades and technical occupations
- today, that mission still exists, but another has been added – improving the skills of individuals who want a 4-year degree, but who don’t have the grades or accomplishments coming out of high school to be admitted into a 4-year college
- indeed, 4 out of 5 students enrolling in a community or technical college today say their ultimate goal is a 4-year college degree
- so mission has been broadened
- but has also created a debate – is the broadened mission deterring many from pursing the technical or trades programs – where many analysts say we are facing shortages?