From EdNC’s Nation Hahn:
At the NC Chamber Education and Workforce Conference, one of the key conversations focused on the statewide attainment goal established by the myFutureNC Commission.
Interim NC Community College System president Bill Carver kicked off the session. “It’s a call to action, if you will,” he said, “for our students that come and seek community college programs. Certainly the challenges of COVID are changing. We thrive on the … hands on — the skill classes. … But we certainly know the value of credentialing. … Community colleges stand ready to be part of this call to action.”
The conversation examined challenges including students who had stopped out due to COVID-19. Andrew Kelly from the UNC system addressed this challenge head-on. “And we know from research that students who stopped out in the middle of their college career are less likely to ever finish. And they’re less likely to come back and and get that credential so they may be leaving with some debt and no college degree which we know is … not a recipe for economic success,” he said.
The fall remains an uncertain time for many families even as we approach school resuming and fall semesters beginning. JB Buxton, the president of Durham Tech, talked about how this is weighing on students and prospective students, noting the “level of uncertainty, a degree of difficulty, around the opportunity to enroll.”
Despite the challenges, the panelists spoke to various innovations that are underway including the launch of 6-8 week “short courses” designed to meet the immediate needs of unemployed and underemployed individuals, the funding Governor Cooper just announced this week, and the new diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative launched by the NC Community College System.
Panelists offered ideas for the future as well. Buxton, for example, pointed to NC’s success around early colleges as an example of what innovation could look like in terms of creating pathways around credentials and degrees of value. He offered up the idea of “early college for all.”
Six policy briefs which explore various facets of the transition from secondary to postsecondary education, now complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.... Read the rest