This article in the Washington post presents a stark contrast between our two nations with regard to the role of community colleges in preparing students for entry into the workforce: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/canadian-2-year-colleges-show-path-to-jobs/2012/01/25/gIQAkhtZaQ_story.html
“Hugely popular for emphasizing practical skills that lead directly to careers, community colleges — most of which simply call themselves colleges, as opposed to universities — get much of the credit for making Canada second in the world in the percentage of young people ages 25 to 34 who hold some sort of postsecondary degree, according to a 2011 report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. More than half of all Canadians have such degrees, and half of those went to community college.”
Two years at Canadian colleges does not appear to have the stigma that attending community colleges has in the U.S. In fact, this article highlights the success “colleges” in Canada have had in placing students in jobs they’ve been trained for –an outcome which is not found universally with the U.S. two-year system. I’m no expert on our community colleges (although I did work at Rockland CC for three years in the 80’s), but, in light of the current debate on whether or not the value of our traditional four-year degree has been tarnished in the current recession, this article does present new evidence that we need to strengthen our own “alternative” to four years of college for students who seek an affordable fast-track degree which prepares them -in a more direct way- to enter the workforce. I’m not now going to enter the debate about the value-added of the U. of Phoenix et al….!