CAROL’S SUMMARY: Community colleges are turning their focus from local to global. Instead of just preparing graduates with the skills for nearby companies, they are now shifting to focus on success in an international work force.
Questions to consider:
1. What are the benefits of an internationally focused education?
2. How has your education prepared you for a global marketplace?
Section: Community Colleges
Volume 55, Issue 10, Page B8
For community colleges, global is the new local. Long attuned to turning out graduates whose skills are calibrated to the needs of nearby companies, two-year colleges are now striving to meet the demands of multinational businesses seeking workers who can succeed in a worldwide marketplace.
Community-college leaders want to ensure that their institutions produce students who can collaborate with co-workers from other countries and cultures, who have an understanding of global economics, and who, perhaps, even speak a foreign language. Despite the obstacles, two-year institutions across the United States are pursuing a variety of strategies to give their students an international edge. Some go for greater numbers of international students, while others are after stronger ties with immigrant groups or multinational firms in their region to provide students with globally relevant volunteer experiences or internships. Still others have developed certificate programs for students who complete several courses with an international perspective. “There’s definitely a recognition of the importance that community-college studies have a global component, that our students need to be more globally educated,” says Judith Irwin, director of international programs and services at the American Association of Community Colleges. “You have to think like that in the 21st century.”
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