Funding Technology at Community Colleges: Increasing the Talent Pool and Going Hands-On

by Chad Agrawal

America's community colleges are often ignored when tech industry leaders and education professionals talk about improving the country's pool of science and technology graduates. Too often, they are taken for granted and put way too low on the agenda. This big mistake is costing the country some of its best potential entrepreneurs and developers. With their diverse student body and educational resources, community colleges are bursting with untapped tech talent strong enough to develop the broader industry, yet specialized enough to bring innovation to a specific niche or company likeĀ Cutler Digital PR.

A Commitment to Diversity Not Found at Larger Universities

The simple fact of the matter is that immediate entry into a four-year university is not affordable for a large segment of the American population. While tuition at those universities can be tens of thousands of dollars every year, community colleges focus on ultra-affordable rates of tuition that help the masses further their understanding of key topics. That means community colleges are far more accessible to minority groups and those who are financially struggling -- the unemployed, young parents, or others -- and they have the ability to draw from a much larger pool of talented candidates interested in science and technology.

Without community colleges, a large segment of the population would simply have no outlet for their interests and talents. That's why it's important to encourage community colleges to pair their diverse student bodies with rich technology courses of study. When the two are combined, community colleges can turn into talent scouts for the industry and find the next big idea before any four-year university has a chance to.

A More Hands-On, Practical Approach to Education

One thing that characterizes virtually every four-year institution in the United States is the development of a more theoretical, liberal-arts-based approach to education. No matter the field a student chooses to study, they'll be forced to discuss it more in a theoretical sense. Rarely will students at these universities begin their educational careers with a hands-on experience or an internship. At community colleges, this is virtually reversed. These more affordable and career-minded institutions actually encourage students to learn in a hands-on way in every class, and they focus more on the major's skills than on liberal arts "general education" classes.

Community colleges are specifically designed to turn their students into candidates eligible for great jobs in the workforce. That is the mission of virtually every community college, and it means that those in a technology-related field will have a greater understanding of the field, its tools, and its methods, by the time they receive their Associate's Degree in their chosen program. That can be invaluable as they look for a job outside of the college's walls, and it can also help them land an admission letter to a major university. With the kind of skills and achievements they've earned at the community college, they're likely to get a scholarship to that university which will negate the higher cost and encourage their further study of the tech field.

Community Colleges Enable the Highest-Achieving Students to Move On

Community colleges often serve as the "ground floor" for applicants who perhaps did not excel in high school for a number of reasons; they're also a great way for students "testing the waters" of higher education to get a feel for whether or not it's for them. The students who manage to excel at community colleges, and those who understand that a higher education is invaluable to their success, are then given the opportunity to directly transfer their credits and degrees to a four-year institution. Tops students are successfully transferring to Ivy League from community college, including schools like Cornell, Harvard, Yale and Upenn.

In a sense, a community college can do the hard work of narrowing a student body down to the most professional, proficient, and highest-achieving ethnology students in the area. Those students are then primed for high achievement after their transfer, and they won't lose a dollar or a credit in the process. Universities will be happy to have them, and community colleges will be proud to have prepared them for their success. Overall, it results in a much deeper talent pool than could be enjoyed otherwise.

Community Colleges are Essential to Tech Industry Success

The technology industry in America has been highly successful for virtually its entire existence, but it finds itself relying more and more on talented candidates from overseas. Community colleges can reverse this trend, helping to pick unconventional candidates from a pool of lower-income, under-qualified, and other candidates, and elevating them to a position of academic success and occupational good fortune. It's the key to success in so many American industries, and tech professionals, should embrace two-year colleges as a bright part of their future plans.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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