In the lives of each of us, opportunity matters and that explains why community colleges matter. Community colleges provide an outstanding array of opportunity-filled education.
Across our nation there are over 1,000 community colleges serving approximately 11.8 million students. The number of community colleges per state varies. Here in North Carolina, we have an accessible network of fifty-eight community colleges to serve our one hundred counties. They offer a wide variety of certificates and degrees and a credit transfer for those wishing to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. One can attend full, part-time, or online. Members of the at-large community can attend adult education and enrichment classes. It is not an exaggeration to say that they satisfy the needs of everyone.
Having served on the board of our local community college, I know many on our team of dedicated faculty, staff, and students. Why do I call it a team? Perhaps that question is best answered by this five-minute video. Meet Staci Hill and hear her personal success story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JY57RFy261Q
Like so many others, Staci did not make it alone. She will tell you that she needed the help of a supportive team over a period of several years. Community colleges take pride in getting students off to a good start and staying with them until they successfully complete what they came to achieve. They are backed in this team effort by employers offering apprenticeships, part-time employment and mentoring. Donors support the Foundation with their scholarship gifts. Local, state, and federal tax and grant support make community college education a bargain. In some instances, with demonstrated effort on the part of the student, it can turn out to be “free.” YEAH TEAM!
The first community colleges appeared over one hundred years ago in response to local need for trained people. Today the need for trained employees has grown exponentially. Community colleges are filling that need. To learn more about community colleges and those nearest to you, please visit https://www.aacc.nche.edu/research-trends/fast-facts/
Note: Not all who read this will identify a personal or family need for their local community college. However, consider what could become of your hometown without an educated citizenry. Over time, there would be few employers, a suffering economy, and inadequate healthcare. There would be increases in unemployment, crime, drug addiction, domestic violence, and homelessness. There are so many reasons to support having a strong community college. Pick a reason and get started.