As technology advances and develops, more tech jobs are emerging in up-and-coming industries. Paulette Chaffee says community colleges can play a vital role in creating equitable pathways for diverse learners to access STEM jobs in start-up industries. Multiple community colleges across the United States have already taken action by offering degree-based and non-degree education opportunities for emerging tech jobs. Chaffee shares how community colleges can aid in educating the workforce needed for this new job market.
- Establish Emerging Technologies Programs
To prepare for the future of work, high-quality workforce development programs that provide training in emerging tech jobs are necessary. Community colleges are an excellent platform to close the gap between quality training and job demand. To encourage enrollment, colleges should focus on what motivates students, such as fulfilling financial needs with an increased salary, flexible scheduling to fit training into a busy schedule, or access to mentorship opportunities with training.
- Team Up with Businesses
Community colleges have a fantastic opportunity to partner with businesses when establishing programs that can create a talent pool for future tech jobs. Many community colleges lack the funds or equipment to develop programs to properly train students in certain professions predicted to be in high demand in the future. Organizations that support community college training programs financially solve more than one problem when getting a program up and running. A business fostering innovative technological jobs can train employees through community colleges, ultimately having a platform to meet its needs as a local employer.
The partnership model between Mesa Community College and Boeing grants students a career path with earning potential and industry-recognized skill development training. In addition, such a partnership also provides funding assistance for community college workforce training. Miami Dade College also has proactive partnerships with tech businesses like IBM, Intel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tesla, Microsoft, and Google.
- Grow Programs with Workforce Demand
Community colleges are a productive solution for meeting recruitment needs as they offer a learning foundation for those seeking a specific opportunity and a hiring pool for businesses looking for qualified employees. Training students at community colleges to fulfill these increasing sector needs supports economic recovery faster and more inclusively. Emerging technology jobs that offer middle-class wages are skyrocketing in industries such as advanced manufacturing, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, electric vehicles, and machine learning.
- Embrace the Research
Adapting workforce programs to industry changes, job market demands, and emergent economic shifts can be difficult for community colleges. Organizations like the Foundation for California Community Colleges use applied research to support the future of work for California Community Colleges. The foundation believes that research is essential for guiding community colleges on how to tackle the issues future work faces. Research is utilized to solve problems in a way that is advantageous to all parties involved, including students, businesses, and the community.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is an educator, children’s advocate, grants facilitator, lawyer, and member of various non-profit boards. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands in Communicative Disorders and a California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is currently the Ambassador for Orange County 4th District and a board member of All the Arts for All the Kids.