The article from Lorain County Community College (LCCC) discusses the college’s feature in a new book published by Harvard University’s Project on Workforce (HPoW) and Harvard Education Press.
The book, titled “America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity,” highlights LCCC as one of five exemplary community colleges contributing to regional economic growth and opportunity.
The book explores how innovative community colleges are adapting to the U.S. economy’s critical needs and creating new pathways to opportunity for a diverse range of learners.
LCCC’s Strategies and Contributions
LCCC has implemented several strategies to foster regional economic growth, including:
Comprehensive Strategic Visioning: LCCC led a strategic visioning process, engaging the community to understand its needs, opportunities, and aspirations. The Vision 2025 strategic plan aimed to prepare 10,000 more individuals with credentials needed for in-demand jobs.
Industry Collaboration: The college has formed long-standing relationships with business and industry, launching new programs and designing innovative delivery models, such as earn-and-learn programs, in collaboration with 80 regional advanced manufacturing companies.
Short-Term Training: LCCC emphasizes delivering 65 Fast-Track programs aligned to in-demand jobs to support career-switching adults, offering these programs for free through various funding sources.
Career by Design: This new approach to student advising focuses on ensuring students’ education leads to careers with family-sustaining wages.
Dual Enrollment Programs: The college is expanding dual enrollment programs aligned to in-demand jobs, creating early career pathways for first-generation college students.
Insights from the Book:
The book provides insights into how community colleges can be drivers of regional economic growth and serve populations often left behind by ‘traditional’ higher education.
It emphasizes the importance of innovative leadership, community engagement, flexible programs, and integral career advising in fostering equitable growth and meeting local workforce needs.
The book hopes to inspire community college leaders and state leaders to recognize the importance of funding community colleges as engines of growth and prosperity.
Other Colleges Featured
In addition to LCCC, the book also features Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Pima Community College in Arizona, and San Jacinto Community College in Texas.
These colleges have implemented practices to respond to their regional economy’s needs and foster new opportunities for equitable growth.
The project, started in 2021, is a collaboration between the Harvard Kennedy School’s Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, the Harvard Business School Managing the Future of Work Project, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It received support from a private foundation and the Capital One Foundation.
The inclusion of Lorain County Community College (LCCC) in Harvard University’s new book, “America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity,” is a testament to the pivotal role community colleges play in regional economic development and creating equitable opportunities.
LCCC, highlighted as one of five exemplary institutions, has been instrumental in implementing innovative strategies such as comprehensive strategic visioning, industry collaboration, short-term training programs, and a new approach to student advising, all aimed at aligning education with in-demand jobs and fostering career pathways.
The book, a product of collaboration between various Harvard entities, sheds light on the transformative practices of community colleges in adapting to the evolving needs of the U.S. economy and serving diverse learner populations.
It emphasizes the importance of community engagement, flexible program design, and robust career advising in promoting shared prosperity and meeting workforce needs.
The insights and examples from LCCC and other featured colleges serve as an inspiration and a call to action for community and state leaders to invest in and leverage community colleges as catalysts for growth and opportunity, ensuring a more inclusive and prosperous future for all.