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Community Colleges and CTE: Reengaging and Preparing Learners for the Post-Pandemic Economy

March 01, 2022

On Monday, February 28, 2022, New America’s Center on Education & Labor, an ECMC Foundation grantee, hosted a webinar highlighting how community colleges are redesigning CTE programs and student supports to retain and reengage learners during the COVID-19 crisis in support of an inclusive economic recovery.

Postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) is critical for equipping youth and adults with the academic knowledge, technical skills, and credentials necessary to enter and succeed in the labor market. Yet many postsecondary CTE programs have experienced major disruptions during the pandemic — with the experiential and work-based learning components being challenging to maintain given public health requirements.

At the same time, community colleges, the primary provider of postsecondary CTE, have seen their student populations decline by 13 percent since the start of the pandemic. The drop has been particularly steep for Black and Indigenous men.

The virtual event closed out CTE Month and featured speakers Pam Eddinger, PhD, President of Bunker Hill Community College; Peter J. Taylor, President of ECMC Foundation; Lul Tesfai, Senior Policy Advisor with the Center on Education & Labor at New America; and Jean-Christophe Sakouhi, Student at Dallas College. Caroline Hendrie, Executive Director of the Education Writers Association, moderated the discussion.

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