There are 245,700 people still looking for work in Massachusetts – and nearly 159,700 job openings. We have a “skills gap” because people lack the skills and training to fill these middle skills jobs. Community colleges are uniquely positioned to help close our skills gap and get people back to work. By creating a unified system of community colleges with a sharper focus, simpler structure, increased funding and greater accountability, campuses can help us better prepare people for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Closing the Achievement Gap
While our students lead the nation in student achievement, we still have an achievement gap to close. Less than half of low income students are proficient in reading in grade 3 and less than a quarter are proficient in science at grade 8.
The Gateway Cities Education Agenda builds upon the Achievement Gap Act of 2010 by aiming to eliminate the deep and persistent achievement gaps that disproportionately affect children living in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities and students who are English language learners. The FY13 budget maintains funding for these programs in Gateway Cities that focus on career success and English language learning.
Putting Community Colleges at the Center of our Job Creation Strategy
There are 233,000 people still looking for work in Massachusetts – and over 150,000 job openings. The #1 issue for regional employers is the “skills gap” that leaves middle-skilled jobs unfilled. Massachusetts community colleges are uniquely positioned to help close our skills gap and get people back to work.
Signed by Governor Patrick in July 2012, the FY13 budget adopts the Governor's proposal to create a more unified, coordinated community college system . The reforms will enable students to transfer their credits more easily and local campuses to be more responsive to the needs of local economies as well as of the state’s fastest growing sectors. Adopted in the budget the Governor signed are the additional reforms:
- Stronger connections between the Department of Higher Education and leadership of the community colleges;
- Stronger connection and accountability between community colleges and vocational/technical schools; and
- Increased oversight and integration of workforce development initiatives at the regional level.
In addition, the budget provides $5 million in Performance Incentive Grants dedicated for community colleges and $2.25 million to fund “Rapid Response Grants” which will allow community colleges and potential employers to develop career specific curriculum based on the needs of the employer.