March 30, 2018 | Issue # 110
Yesterday, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams addressed President Trump’s continued confusion around the difference between vocational schools and community colleges. The president, in a speech in Richfield, Ohio, stated, “I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means.” The segment, which ran on 11th Hour with Brian Williams, highlighted at least three other instances where the president made similar statements on January 30, February 1, and on March 22. Brian Williams provided an excellent testimonial on the clarity of what community colleges do, and the difference that community colleges have made in the lives of many, including himself.
While our association did not initially respond to the president’s statements, I feel compelled to do so today on behalf of the 1,108 community colleges, and more than 12.2 million students that we represent. I’ve written an editorial asking, “What are community colleges? Are they vocational schools?” You can read it online.
I would posit that if you speak to anyone in their local communities, they know the community colleges offer affordable, high-quality instructional programs that lead to transfer to either a regional or Ivy League institution, as evidenced by the number of Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship recipients completing community college and transferring to excellent universities. As an American institution, the community college’s mission is to improve the lives of all of our students.
A New America survey of American adults conducted in 2017 contradicts the president’s assumptions that people don’t know what a community college is. Eighty-two percent of respondents said that community colleges are worth the cost. The research shows that community colleges also scored at or near the top, compared to other sectors, on questions of whether they contribute to a strong workforce, prepare people to be successful, are for people “in my situation,” and always put their students first (62% believe community colleges put students first). And, we have great support for our community colleges in Congress and in the Administration, as evidenced by our working relationship with leaders to advance Pell for short-term training and get year-round Pell restored.
Ultimately, I believe that we all want the same thing: a country with a vibrant workforce and strong economy. So, we see this as a teachable moment, and we will continue to maintain a consistency in our message about the relationships that we have with business and industry, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Labor that meet today’s workforce needs, but are structured to evolve as the world changes.
Click here to access the video. Scroll down the page, and the segment is second on the list.
Congress has agreed to a Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill that increases funding for nearly every program of significance to community colleges, many by substantial amounts. The bill’s biggest highlight is a $175 increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, to $6,095. Learn more in CC Daily.
Community colleges are helping to meet workforce demand in the oil and gas industry. Read about it at the AACC 21st Century Center.
A Strategic Focus on Growing Leaders from Non-traditional Backgrounds
In the coming weeks, AACC will launch a new initiative aimed at providing education and professional development to individuals who have very little knowledge about community colleges and their operations with a primer on the community college. If individuals have been in leadership positions in other sectors, many automatically assume that transitioning into the community college is easy, and this is not always the case. I get contacted weekly from individuals who have either been superintendents, in the corporate world, in the military, or in university positions wanting to transition into leadership at the community college. Please keep up with the CEO to CEO for announcements on these upcoming events.
The schedule for AACC’s convention is now online. You can search by keywords and interest areas to find the sessions that excite you. The convention app, along with a new networking component, will be available and announced in the upcoming week.
The online convention registration deadline is April 13 at 5:00 p.m. (ET). And AACC’s hotel rooming cut-off date is April 6. If you have made a lodging request through our eShow system but you have not received a hotel confirmation, please log back into the Attendee Service Center and double check that you included a credit card number to guarantee your reservation. AACC cannot submit lodging requests to the hotel without a valid credit card number. Lodging confirmations will be emailed within 1 week of them being submitted to the hotel.
AACC has 10 commissions, which were established to provide advice to the AACC board and staff and to encourage collaboration among community college entities and organizations. Interested in serving on a commission? AACC is now accepting applications. CEOs, vice presidents/vice chancellors, associate/assistant vice presidents/vice chancellors, and provosts from AACC member colleges are eligible to apply. Appointments range from 1 to 3 years. Commissions meet twice a year. The deadline to submit applications is May 2.
See more of Where’s Walter.