A recently released study reports that jobs requiring associate degrees will grow at nearly twice the national average in the coming years. As result two-year colleges will play an increasingly crucial role in reviving the nation's economy.
This is just the latest in a series of reports that urge increased federal investment in two-year colleges.
In "A Matter of Degrees: Tomorrow's Fastest Growing Jobs and Why Community College Graduates Will Get Them," Jessica Milano, Paul Weinstein Jr. and Bruce Reed took a close look at the American job market, analyzing where it is expected to grow as the nation moves out of recession. Among their findings:
· Demand for Two-Year College Graduates Will Spike: Jobs for community college graduates will grow at nearly double the national average.
· Health Care and Education Top the List of Growth Industries: Nurses and teachers are among the professions that will generate more than three out of 10 new jobs over the next decade.
· IT Hot Jobs Will Offer the Highest Pay: Firms employing information technology specialists will require highly skilled workers with extensive education and training.
· Green Jobs will Triple over the Next Decade: Spurred by the economic recovery package and other efforts to promote energy innovation, this sector will be a pillar of the new Hybrid Economy.
In an effort to help the nation meet the president's goal of driving the United States, by 2020, to be the world leader in college graduates per capita, the authors propose:
· Free Community College for Students Pursuing 'Hot Jobs': The federal government should create a community college block grant that awards states money each year based on number of students that graduate with degrees that prepare them for high-growth professions.
· A National Campaign Against Dropping Out: Every year, about half a million young people drop out of college -- and at community colleges the dropout rate is even higher. There is a need for a national crusade to reduce high school and college dropouts at the same time.
· Reward and Demand College Completion -- Not Attendance: insist -- from institutions and students alike -- that in return for financial assistance, we expect graduation with a degree.
· Improve and Expand President Obama's American Opportunity Tax Credit: To make community college more affordable, make the American Opportunity Tax Credit fully refundable and more generous. In addition, challenge states to hold the line on the cost of public community colleges until the recession ends.
· Additional Flexibility for State-Financed 'Hot Job' Training: Reform the stove-piped system for funding job training programs. Congress should give the administration broad authority to give waivers to states that have formulated plans to increase the number of workers who receive training and obtain jobs.