Over the past decade, educators and policymakers have sought to increase the number of students pursuing and completing postsecondary credentials. There’s a good reason for this: In today’s economy, most jobs that pay enough to support a family will require some kind of postsecondary education or training. At the same time, policymakers and early childhood advocates have sought to increase the number of early childhood workers with postsecondary training in early childhood, as a way both to improve quality of teaching in early childhood settings and to elevate the status of the early childhood profession.
Community colleges play an important role in efforts to increase the percentage of Americans with postsecondary education. Nearly half of American college students will spend some time in community colleges —and they are a particularly important entry point to higher education for students from underrepresented populations: 44 percent of low income students and 38 percent of first-generation students attend community college as their first postsecondary institution. Further, community colleges also play an important role in delivering tailored workforce training in response to local employer needs, and in enabling mid-career adults to advance their educations or acquire new workforce skills.