Community colleges are not lacking in attention. Indiana has a rapidly growing two-year system in Ivy Tech, which has surged the last three-plus years under the leadership of longtime Indiana automotive industry veteran Tom Snyder. President Obama has highlighted the need for additional community college graduates and certifications, including today’s White House Summit on Community Colleges.
While Snyder and an Ivy Tech student are among the attendees, the Indiana Chamber is also contributing to that effort (along with many other initiatives in higher education and workforce development). The Chamber’s Derek Redelman is one of more than 30 leaders from business, education and philanthropy that joined Business Champions, Inc. in submitting an action plan to today’s summit.
The plan outlines specific and concrete action steps employers, corporate philanthropy and community college trustees can take to build partnerships that prepare Americans for high-value jobs, expand opportunities for degrees and support entrepreneurs.
If current trends continue, our workforce will be less educated in 2020 than it is today. Among older adults – those between the ages of 55 and 64 – the United States ranks first with the highest percentage of postsecondary degree holders of all developed countries. However, among young adults aged 24 to 35, the U.S. ranks 12th.
Many of the recommendations for action stem from seven White House meetings Business Champions, Inc. facilitated earlier this year for the Workforce and Education Subcommittee of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
“It’s time to move from analyzing America’s skilled workforce problems to implementing solutions.” said Mary Gershwin, president of Business Champions, Inc. “Our workforce development problems can be solved, but business-as-usual will not work. Leaders from community colleges, the business community and corporate philanthropy must become much more deliberate about working in partnership to build skills, degrees and entrepreneurial capacity. This brief provides a much-needed road map to results.”
Business Champions, Inc. is a national non-profit organization committed to building the skills of our workforce by mobilizing the influence of business leaders to stimulate new thinking, strengthen political will and reform systems so that more Americans earn valuable degrees and credentials after high school.