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Can Education Save the Economy?

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The recent global economic downturn is causing U.S. workers and employers to look to the educational system for skills that will allow them to thrive when the economy recovers. Education alone cannot save the economy. Much larger forces are at work, such as international equity and debt markets, the banking crisis, and the deflation of consumer confidence. U.S. policymakers are, however, focusing on education because a modern economy cannot function without an educated workforce. Increased attention is being given to the over 1,000 community colleges in the United States. Community colleges typically offer programmes of up to two years, including many types of vocational and technical programmes. Unlike many four-year institutions, these colleges are typically open-access and much lower-cost. Thus, community colleges have been for some time now trying to cope with the large influx of dislocated workers. This article examines the roles that community colleges play in the economy, specifically in the areas of "green" jobs and entrepreneurship, as well as its roles in training workers in information technology and first-responders and protective-service workers. The authors state that community colleges will play an important role in helping displaced workers readjust to their new reality and plan ahead for their future careers while also addressing issues from their recent displacement. Helping this population upgrade its skills is a "win-win;" they earn higher wages, the economy benefits from their increased productivity, and they are less likely to rely on government assistance.

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Author:Van Noy, Michelle; Zeidenberg, Matthew
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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