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CTE Leadership Collaborative Fellows Explore CTE in Rural Communities

A round-up of recent work from ECMC Foundation Fellows

May 13, 2022

By Jennifer Zeisler, Senior Program Director, Career Readiness

Community colleges, especially those located in rural communities, are pillars of the local economy, often the site of essential career and technical education (CTE) that can prepare area workers for the jobs that fuel regional workforces. The challenges and opportunities facing CTE in rural areas of the United States are as diverse as the communities they serve. From workers affected by the transition toward cleaner energy to rural Black and Native communities, CTE programs are providing pathways to stable and fulfilling careers in communities around the country. But these programs often struggle to equitably and effectively serve all the students who are interested in enrolling.

ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative has been working to change the face of postsecondary CTE leadership by equipping a diverse group of emerging leaders with the tools, resources and skills needed to advance the field, including in rural communities. By fostering connection and collaboration across a range of approaches and disciplines — including research, data analytics, business and industry, journalism, higher education, and aspiring state leaders — these diverse perspectives are already deepening the field’s understanding of key issues, such as gender equity, that affect CTE’s present and future.

Recent pieces from ECMC Foundation Fellows that explore CTE in rural communities include:

  • Jason Gonzalez wrote about how one community college is central to its area’s future economic development for Chalkbeat Colorado, “In rural Colorado, one town is looking to its community college to help survive the end of coal”

  • Hilary Burns wrote about rural colleges that primarily serve Black students in Biz Journal, “The forgotten HBCUs: As millions have poured into historically Black colleges, 2-year schools missed out”

  • Alia Wong, writing for USA Today, covered access to better jobs in Native communities, “’Green jobs’ path to middle class, sustainability largely blocked to Native Americans”

  • Danielle Dreilinger, in Hechinger Report, explored training for those who are incarcerated in rural Idaho, “Prisons are training inmates for the next generation of in-demand jobs”

  • Molly Osborne Urquhart wrote about the evolving role of community colleges in rural North Carolina for EdNC, “‘It’s not enough to get students in the door’ — Reimagining the role of community colleges”

  • Adam Atwell was a co-author on an article comparing COVID responses at urban and rural community colleges in Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

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