There is a tremendous opportunity to enhance our competitive edge in the global economy that is often overlooked. It’s time for community college presidents and school superintendents to form new relationships. This relationship should consist of something greater than traditional dual enrollment programs. The potential for changing whole communities and job prospects is tremendous. Currently over 47% of the students who attend post-secondary education institutions are attending community colleges. The employment needs of the United States will go unfilled if we are not giving students greater preparation to earn a minimum of an associate degree.

A high school education is not sufficient education to comprehend the new way that technology will influence nursing, finance and computer technology. As the baby boomers retire a wide array of jobs will become available that require fresh leadership. A high school education will not prepare a new employee to survive in the information age. Some of the conversations about how society is changing must occur while students are attending high school.
It is to our country’s global advantage to have a workforce that is trained to move into higher levels of management and into the executive suite.

Too many high school students fear that they cannot succeed as a college student. Nationally only 30 percent of high school students are pursuing a degree. This means that the vast majority of students are not receiving an education to compete in a 21st century economy. Sometimes students are discouraged because of the types of grades they are earning while attending high school. School districts need to teach students how to be self-learners. They need to know that they can improve their grades with additional efforts.

Community college admission staff and faculty need to spend more time connecting with high schools. These professionals can play a role in changing a high school student’s expectations. Parents can also learn that the cost of community college education is often half the cost of four year institutions. Some high school students say they never have received a visit from an admissions officer from any college. When community colleges reach out to schools it sends a message that students are welcomed to apply.

Students need to be well informed about the opportunity to complete community college credits while they are attending high school. Establishing a collaborative relationship between school superintendents and community college presidents can create a successful college preparation program. This is important since many high school students lose hope during 9th grade. There is an opportunity for students to learn how much work is required to prepare for a college level course. It will eliminate some of the peer pressure that discourages high school students from academic excellence.

Community College of Philadelphia and School District of Philadelphia are finding a way to effectively collaborate on the transition from high school to college. Community College has a formal network of high school students who will enroll in community college level courses. Eastern college offers a unique aspect of the orientation which is a presentation of effective study skills. This is an interactive session that affords students an opportunity to understand the new level of their personal study time that they must invest. Just because a student is a top performer in their high school one cannot assume that they will not have challenges adjusting to college.

The marriage between school superintendents and community college presidents can provide an ongoing resolution to changes in the workforce. Industry should be an additional partner that inspires students through knowledge of their employment needs. There will be a greater need for internships that prepare students for full time employment. The road that leads to a brighter future is paved with an educated workforce.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Jones has delivered presentations on numerous topics including how to study, leadership, effective communication, and innovative management practices. He is the author of three books titled “Seven Secrets of How to Study” the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide” and the “Ultimate Scholarship Guide.” The book provides an easy understanding of the seven pillars that are essential to learning effective study techniques. After twenty-five years of working in higher education, he decided to create a tool to help students to achieve their goal to graduate. Working with students has enabled Dr. Jones to have a complete understanding of the challenges they are facing.