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In noncredit education, this expansion raises fundamental questions about whose needs colleges seek to fulfill and how they are balanced, particularly in the context of limited funding. Further, some college administrators find that noncredit education is useful because it allows them to add new programs quickly and then transition some programs to credit-bearing status later (U. Aside from facilitating workforce development, noncredit workforce education can also serve as a bridge to the credit side of the college. It can be a point of entry into college for those who do not have a degree but are not yet ready to enroll in a credit program (Grubb et al. State policies, particularly those related to funding, may have significant implications for the role of noncredit workforce education, and state-level initiatives have an important function in supporting statewide workforce development efforts (Biswas et al.

However, in the context of decreased general funding for higher education and state budget shortfalls since the 1990s, competition for state funds is great (Jones, 2003). Given limited higher education funding, noncredit workforce education is viewed as a potential source of income for community colleges. In particular, contract training may be the write my economics paper primary source of revenue in noncredit workforce education (Yeager, 2007). It is unclear, however, how 6 much revenue noncredit is generating, in practice, as colleges may not charge noncredit programs for overhead costs (Morest, 2006). By maintaining a clear division between credit and noncredit programs, administrators may have more flexibility in creating and staffing noncredit offerings write my economics paper without the need to engage in state or college-level approval processes. While credit programs may have some flexibility by offering courses on an experimental basis or in alternative formats, they generally still have more regulation and institutionalized practices than noncredit.

Second, the mobility of students between noncredit programs and credit programs is more likely to take place when the programs are integrated organizationally.

Since many low-income students get their first experience at college through noncredit programs, integrating noncredit with credit programs could help them pursue both short-term and long-term goals (Grubb et al. An integrated organizational approach to noncredit education may, however, also result in the loss of some of the flexibility associated with the separate organizational approach. However, without the regulations associated with credit programs, noncredit education may or may not provide students with a recorded outcome of value. The development of well-conceived recorded outcomes for noncredit workforce education would serve multiple goals. This documentation would have value to both the adult workers who gained the skills and then relocated and to employers who would have more specific information about the skills of applicants or incumbent workers.

A standardized way of measuring outcomes from noncredit education may enable students to gain credit in a degree program for the noncredit courses they completed. Furthermore, producing recorded outcomes may also enhance public accountability. Some community college leaders have advocated the creation of transcripts for noncredit education to provide documentation of skill acquisition (Flynn, 2004a, 2004b).

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In addition, industry credentials, developed by specific industries to certify that individuals have a particular set of industry-relevant skills, may provide a portable and transferable way to validate the skills associated with noncredit workforce education.

Furthermore, some community college leaders have recommended that colleges partner with industry to develop assessments tied to national skills standards that can form credentials for noncredit workforce education (Flynn, 2002).

The following three sections address the key issues in noncredit workforce education and their implications. Second, the ways that colleges organize their noncredit workforce education are discussed, with a general description of their organizational approaches and organizational changes associated with noncredit workforce education.

Third, the outcomes from noncredit workforce education are examined, with a discussion of the recorded outcomes associated with noncredit course completion and information on data and reporting.

The report concludes with a set of recommendations for community college noncredit workforce education. Study Methods The leadership of two major community college organizations - the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET) - sought to collaborate with the Community College Research Center (CCRC) to conduct a study that write my economics paper would illuminate the implications of recent changes in most aspects of noncredit workforce education. These councils represent senior community college administrators nationwide who are responsible for workforce development and have been grappling with their stances on noncredit education and considering which policies to advocate. It documents the empirical landscape of noncredit workforce education in terms of state policy and community college practice and identifies significant issues that warrant attention from state policymakers, community college leaders, and policy advocates. To what extent are there tensions among these roles?

To what extent is noncredit workforce education changing the community college organizationally?

What data are available on the outcomes of noncredit workforce education?

A review of state policies was conducted on the funding and regulation of noncredit workforce education in all 50 states. State policymakers with oversight of noncredit workforce education were identified from a list maintained by the Councils, supplemented by web searches. Given the wide range in state governance structures, individuals were contacted in a variety of state 9 departments, including policymakers in state departments of higher education, education, economic development, and labor, as well as state community college governing boards. In some states, such as Alaska and Hawaii, the oversight for the community college system is located within the four-year college system. In a few states with no state body with oversight over the community colleges (Arizona, Delaware, Indiana), a representative from the largest community college system in each state was interviewed.

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