America's two-year colleges play a pivotal role in providing millions of students with the education and training they need for success in the modern economy. Strong connections between community colleges and local labor markets are necessary for the success of this mission; and, spurred by state and federal legislation, community colleges have recently sought to improve these connections. In fact, faculty have long provided links to the labor market, through their interaction with employers or through their membership in local organizations. Effective links can play a critical role in shaping program offerings and content, as well as in job placement for graduates. This study shows that although faculty recognize the importance of strong labor market linkages, competing time demands and lack of institutional support mean that ad hoc and informal connections are the norm. A number of practical suggestions for strengthening connections between faculty and their local labor markets and communities are offered.
MDS-1084 / November 1997
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