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I am intrigued by the fact that the author suggests community colleges be praised for doing something that they should have been doing all along--connecting people with skills so that they could join or reconnect with the labor market. Isn't that what community colleges, through their use of taxpayer dollars, should have been doing?
The business community, in some regions, simply gave up calling colleges whenever they needed a skilled labor pool because they were unable to deliver. Programs were not designed to fit the needs of commerce and industry. Only recently, as the middle skills job vacancies came to light, has there any pressure put on community colleges to perform or be held accountable.
This month's Money article suggests that community colleges are the only logical respondents to the skilled help needs of employers. Wrong. Nonprofit vocational schools were first responders and continue to fill many of the needs community colleges leave unfulfilled--especially in large metropolitan areas like Chicago.