THE BLOG
09/28/2012 02:25 pm ET Updated Nov 28, 2012

Increasing Student Success to Compete in a Global Market

A skilled workforce is required if the United States is going to remain competitive in a global market. In order to meet this goal, institutions of higher education must provide a quality education at an affordable price. For colleges and universities to successfully meet these needs, it will prove to be both an exciting and challenging time for higher education across this nation.

The key to remaining competitive in global markets resides within our nation's ability to respond quickly to changes in society, industry and the workforce and no sector of education has the ability to react as quickly, innovatively and flexibly as our community colleges. But in addition to being able to operate nimbly and innovatively, these colleges continue to provide a high-quality educational experience at an affordable price, giving access to millions of students who might not be able to otherwise attend.

Community colleges work with businesses, workforce boards and organizations and leaders in the community to identify and address the training needs of the workforce.

One such example was set by the Ivy Tech community college system in Indiana, who looked at the example set by some baccalaureate-granting schools that have begun offering three-year bachelor's degrees to focused, hard-working, cash-strapped students. Ivy Tech responded with an accelerated one-year associate degree at its campuses in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

Earlier this year, Palm Beach State College's Employ Florida Banner Center for Life Sciences entered into a year-long agreement to offer industry-driven workshops at Scripps Florida, a division of the non-profit Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter. The workshops are presented in Jupiter for Scripps Florida staff, students and faculty. The initial Banner Center workshops dealt with the business side of the life sciences. Also offered was a four-part workshop "Business Basics for the Life Sciences Industry" exploring the career pathways open to scientists, the fundamentals of starting a life sciences company, and good manufacturing practices in FDA-regulated industries.

At Indian River State College, north of PBSC, the college and the biotechnology firms flocking into the area around The Scripps Research Center have worked together with IRSC to help the firms recruit and train students to work as laboratory assistants and in other positions.

At Broward College, in southeastern Florida, we took a fresh, new look at the economic drivers in our area and as a result, expanded our aviation program and added new programs in logistics, global technology and manufacturing and we've begun the process to gain approval from the Florida Board of Education to add Bachelor of Applied Science programs in Environmental Science, Clinical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology and Computer Networking and Telecommunications.

Even during difficult economic times, America's community colleges continue to enhance the quality of their programs, providing excellence in teaching and student services.

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