How Businesses and Community Colleges Work Together

The current labor market in the US is evolving to accommodate progressive partnerships between community colleges and businesses. Collaborative college and business partnerships matter because they allow students to gain working experience while studying. 

There have been incredible innovations in improving the course curriculum, which contributes to the professional development of students. Students leaving community college are often faced with the challenge of not having enough practical skills and this collaboration has resulted in significant improvement in various industries. 

In as much as businesses have an overwhelming number of jobs available – it is challenging to both recruit train employees due to limited resources.

Industry Partnerships

Industry partnerships are valuable relationships formed when an employer recognizes the workforce needs and partners with a community college to ensure those needs are fulfilled. 

The partnerships work through a framework that allows for resource sharing and immense skills’ improvement for trainees. Industry partners provide trainees with firsthand knowledge, which extends on theoretical elements of the classroom. Training programs provide under served students with a supportive structure including transportation, housing and childcare, and basic skills’ improvement. 

These partnerships with businesses are valuable because it offers real-time experience because industries are always evolving. Partnerships allow the business to fulfill their needs while the students gain working experience. These partnerships have resulted in a positive impact for the communities in which the businesses and colleges work within. 

Although they differ in structure, industry partnerships generally entail ensuring that valuable skills are imparted to the student. According to research, programs of this nature directly respond to skills shortages in crucial industries such as manufacturing, nursing and IT. 

Improving Postsecondary Education

College partnerships mean that there is an opportunity to improve on curriculum offerings. As the demands business world becomes more intensifying, investment in education is important for a business. 

Educational institutions must keep their fingers on the pulse and offer relevant coursework to students. This creates an opportunity for immense skills’ development and the collaborative development of career-focused educational content. 

Students can also have time to focus on theoretical work. “I finally get the time I need to focus to write my assignment,” said a student supportive of in-service training. He adds, ”and when I lack time, I use online services for my thesis, dissertation or any other writing requirement I have.”

Support from business partners has created an opportunity to reassess HEA and making it relevant to the current workforce. 

The improvement of the structure of education allows for the bridging of the skills’ gap in the labor force. For a long time, more active support has been sought from Congress to standardize learning across colleges. 

Congress has also been pressured to invest in these partnerships because they sustain economic development. Congress has also been urged to increase resources and funding to deliver quality programs to students and workers. Support grants could play a pivotal role in the following areas:

  • Increasing the skills available in an in-demand industry through the participation of diverse employers.
  • An improved and industry-responsive curriculum, including purchasing the latest equipment for regional in-demand industries.
  • Diversifying talent across industries by reaching out to under served populations and ensuring that job opportunities are available on an equal playing field. 
  • Highly productive collaboration with various partners, including adult education, labor management, and CBOs to access resources while meeting the needs of students and employers.

Solving Unemployment

In the US, employers have reported immense difficulty in filling positions due to a lack of available skills and talent. In 2015, it was calculated that 17 million Americans are unemployed or only work part-time but desire a full time job. Partner colleges are finding ways to make up for the lack of skilled employment which has reached a crisis level in certain industries. 

These partnerships ensure that adequate resources are dedicated to equipping the student with useful skills. Partnerships between businesses and colleges directly address barriers faced by students. 

Upon enrollment, a student will take a needs assessment exam or screening test and a targeted program can be created. This approach allows teachers to take on a more practical and focused approach to teaching their students. 

A Rewarding Environment

In this environment, hard work and dedication is recognized as employers can agree to hire students who are successful in training and show dedication. The incentive of employment is the ultimate reward because it is the reason most people go to college. 

Besides, on-the-job-training is an opportunity for career guidance and counseling because students gain familiarity with the workplace. A successful example of a business and community college collaboration is the Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) in Sugar Grove in Illinois. 

Referred to Mopar CAP, the program has partnered with community colleges and universities since 1984 and it has contributed immensely to the automotive industry since its inception. 

Mopar CAP graduates have had the opportunity to be gainfully employed by leading companies and have had exposure to continued training opportunities. 

Conclusion

In this day’s economy, skilled labor is highly sought after. As important as it is for educational institutions to supply their students with progressive education, the involvement of business offers a career-focused approach. Practical skills allow today’s student to thrive in the workforce, and higher education becomes less theoretical, eliminating months and years of learning for the new employee. 

This approach equips the students while saving money for the business, and ensures that higher education is ever-evolving. The presence of evidence in this nature of partnering is overwhelming and it is pivotal for Congress to avail more resources to strengthening the bond between academic institutions and businesses. 

Author Bio:

Jeremy Reynolds is a renowned management guru working with top-tier startups and small businesses helping them scale-up and create a solid ground for themselves in the market. His business ideas and expertise have helped many student entrepreneurs give shape to their business plans. In his free time, he reads novels, plays guitar and practices mindfulness. 

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