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Mike Zitz's op-ed column on the future of college education in America.
Germanna Community College also provides practical workforce education in such areas as automotive training.
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It requires students to earn their associate's degree in nursing at Germanna or one of Virginia's 22 other community colleges as well as passing the state board test to earn their license to practice as a registered nurse. They then complete nine more online courses to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing.
Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia's Community Colleges, said: "This could be a blueprint for offering similar baccalaureate opportunities in other high-demand fields such as information technology, business, and other health care-related programs. Virginia's Community Colleges were created to address Virginia's unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. Higher education costs have become one of those needs and this agreement is an important part of the solution."
Increasing cooperation between institutions of higher learning is another way to cut future costs, Kanter noted. An example is the recent co-enrollment agreement between Germanna and the University of Mary Washington that GCC President David A. Sam said benefits area students both academically and financially.
Germanna students will be eligible to take up to five classes at UMW. Students will pay Germanna tuition rates for the UMW courses. And those credits will count toward both their associate degree at Germanna and a BLS degree at UMW.
Kanter said community colleges must broaden their function as a bridge "between people who don't have jobs and the workforce."
Closing the skills gap, keeping it closed, and staying competitive will require a change in the way Americans think about education from being something most complete in their early 20s to a process of lifelong learning. This will mean greater diversity in student ages.
The American Association of Community Colleges' 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges has noted that two-year institutions "serve a broad range of ages, from teenagers in dual enrollment programs, to seniors seeking encore careers or personal enrichment." But it predicts that while enrollment among 18- to 24-year-olds will increase by 12 percent by 2019, the increase in the number of students ages 25 to 34 will jump 28 percent, and it will surge by 22 percent among students 35 and over.
SERVING ALL STUDENTS
In the future, Kanter said, community colleges must serve "every student who has aspirations, whether they are the 35-year-old woman who raised kids who hasn't had the chance or a kid who has dropped out of high school."
The thing we can least afford to waste is human potential.
ALL SHOOK UP: 'HYBRID' CLASSES, PERSONAL TOUCH AT GERMANNA
Michael Zitz is Germanna Community College's director of media and community relations.