In late March, I had the honor of representing Aurora Public College and providing evidence before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development. The hearingentitled “Skills, Skills and Retraining: An Analysis of New Investments in Workforce Development,” gave our leaders an opportunity to hear first-hand from faculty, researchers, and business leaders about the impact of colleges, learning, and federal funding on America’s future. labor and sustainability of the industry.
We discussed the possibility of allowing low-income students to use Pell’s federal grants to pay for short workforce training programs. As president of a community college in a growing, competitive and evolving marketplace, I believe it is important that our community colleges be seen as responsive and collaborative with industry partners. According to Community College Research Center, Pell federal grants can currently only be used for programs totaling at least 600 hours over 15 weeks. However, in this devastating era of higher education, public demand for skills-based short-term programs took off sharply. That’s why I advocate for short-term programs to be eligible for Pell grants.
Although there is a free public college removed from the now-discontinued Back Better bill proposed by President Biden by 2023 fiscal plan can create new avenues for community colleges. The proposal increase U.S. Department of Education funding to $ 88.3 billion, and increase Pell Grant funding for qualified students even beyond recent approval Congress will increase the maximum Pell Grant award for low-income students by $ 400 to $ 6,895 for the 2022-2023 academic year, the largest year-on-year growth for more than ten years.
But there is still much that the government can do to help higher education and employers in partnership to support people trying to make better careers.
As I shared at my congress evidence, Aurora Community College uses data and feedback provided by small businesses and large industries to review and transform our student learning experience. Designed to educate displaced workers, non-traditional adult students and first-year students, these efforts aim to improve or retrain people and help them gain industry-recognized credentials that match the high-paying professions in demand.
Take for example our institution’s expanded program and partnership with BuildStrong Academy, a non-profit organization that trains new builders. For the first time in 23 years is the Aurora Public College evolving a new building, a 55,000-square-foot facility that will serve as headquarters BuildStrong Academy in the greater Denver subway area. With the growth of construction professions in the community, this new facility will allow students seeking non-credit certificates through BuildStrong to also travel on a favorable path to obtaining credit through our community college. Such partnerships are necessary for our efforts to develop new opportunities for social and economic mobility for our students, 64 percent of them are students of color.
Over the past 30 years, the public college sector has not sufficiently responded to the needs of society, nor has it effectively innovated the student experience by enabling commercial institutions gain a foothold in the market in the keys programs where public colleges can best serve. On the other hand, this lack of responsiveness and innovation may be due to a much deeper problem: the lack of adequate funding. According to Center for American Progresspublic colleges receive $ 8,800 less education revenue per student enrolled than four-year institutions, which is $ 78 billion as of 2020. Also, according to Inside the Supreme Ed, during the pandemic, states cut financial support for two-year colleges by $ 457 million, while funding for four-year institutions fell by only $ 63 million. This lack of financial support – and the current inability to allocate Pell Grant funding for very short-term workforce-based programs – prohibits community colleges from developing in-demand programs due to a lack of student funding. In essence, it widens the gap in opportunities that puts disadvantaged people and disadvantaged students at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, the number of credits to profits continues to grow, debt on loans continues to grow to rise among the students who attend them institutionspromises of career prospects are there brokenand students enrolled in commercial two-year non-performing student programs in a for five years the rate is 41 percent.
As long as America’s leaders meet to tackle the country’s challenges, opportunities, and threats, the “land of the free” must recognize the realities of their children’s debt growth. Collaborative colleges are best suited to meet the needs of the American workforce, working with business and industry to move into the next era of industrialization and address growing student debt, but intervention at the historical level is necessary. Pell Maximum Grants Increased are highly valued and support the growth of education costs for low-income families. However, the game change that is needed now more than ever is Pell funding for very short-term programs. This will stimulate the subsequent evolution of training and employment through internships, internships, apprenticeships and sponsorships. We hope that the leadership of our country will respond accordingly and give the green light to public colleges.