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Community Colleges and Regional Recovery: Strategies for State Action

Richard Kazis

The current economic climate has placed renewed priority on the performance and potential of community colleges, the primary postsecondary institution serving local and regional workforce needs. These institutions are critically important to individuals seeking higher skills and to employers looking for qualified workers. States that fail to align their community college goals with economic development efforts to address their human capital challenges run the risk of losing out in the competition for good jobs and sustain­able development. However, states that maximize their return on every public investment dollar to prepare for long-term economic growth can use the current moment to their advantage.

In this report for Brookings Institution, JFF Senior VP Richard Kazis argues that postsecondary credentials—not short-term job training—will help improve opportunities for American workers. He spells out how states can tie community colleges’ programs with their respective regions’ talent needs to spur a more efficient recovery.