Today, Corporate Voices for Working Families released a new report highlighting the imperative for partnerships between community colleges and employers to enhance workforce readiness skills and increase U.S. college completion rates.

The paper, titled From an ‘Ill-Prepared’ to a Well-Prepared Workforce: The Shared Imperatives for Employers and Community Colleges to Collaborate, was released on the same day as the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, convened by Dr. Jill Biden. Participants at the Summit discussed how community colleges can help ensure that we lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020 so that American businesses can be competitive in the global economy.

Donna Klein, CEO and Executive Chair of Corporate Voices, participated in the White House Summit, along with leading policymakers, business leaders, members of the philanthropic community, and community college and student representatives.

As we invest in community colleges to ensure America’s economic future, Corporate Voices’ paper explores the innovative collaborations between employers and community colleges, and finds that they can and do play a positive role in increasing workforce readiness skills and college completion rates. Importantly, these partnerships enable young people to successfully combine postsecondary education and work.

“We call these ‘Learn and Earn’ models, and it is important to share these innovative partnerships because, in reality, so many community college students must work in order to support themselves and their families,” said Donna Klein. “Employers have a unique opportunity to become ‘empowerment points’ to help students complete their education through tuition assistance, flexible scheduling, and through partnerships with community colleges.”

The paper discusses examples of the Verizon Wireless partnership with Pima Community College, and AOL’s partnership with Year Up.

From an ‘Ill-Prepared’ to a Well-Prepared Workforce: The Shared Imperatives for Employers and Community Colleges to Collaborate was made possible with generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Postsecondary Success Strategy. Please visit Corporate Voices’ website to access the paper, and read more about its work on workforce readiness, postsecondary education, and to read its “Learn and Earn” mico-business cases.

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