Enter community colleges. They provide technical programs for emerging careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are comparable to — if not better than — some of their four-year counterparts, at a fraction of the cost. Often, they’re the launchpad to baccalaureate programs for people without the time, money or academic skills to jump into a four-year program straight out of high school.
And as part of the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Initiative, they’re updating their missions and nimbly shifting to serve the economy of the future.
Here are some of the ways they’re facing problems that weigh down all of higher education — and succeeding.