Do Community Colleges Respond to Local Needs? Evidence from California Do Community Colleges Respond to Local Needs? Evidence from California
Duane E. Leigh and Andrew M. Gill
First Chapter | Table of Contents

219 pp. 2007
$40.00 cloth 978-0-88099-328-9
$18.00 paper 978-0-88099-327-2

A "Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics, 2007" – Industrial Relations Section, Princeton University

In recent years, American community colleges have evolved as the missions facing them expanded and their constituencies changed. No longer is their role solely to prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions and to provide occupational training. Now, they must also provide basic adult education, including ESL, and serve an economic development role by implementing training programs that assist in retaining existing employers and attracting new ones.

Have these expanded efforts addressed their constituents' requirements or are community colleges failing to be as responsive as they need to be? Leigh and Gill use data from California's community college system to address this question.

Their efforts focus on two major, policy relevant sources of change at the local level. First, on the supply side, they examine how responsive community colleges' are at meeting the needs of the growing immigrant population for education and training. Then, on the demand side, Leigh and Gill look into whether the need of local employers for skilled workers is being met, an issue impacted by dynamic technological change and increased global competition.

The result is a book that identifies key patterns that community colleges should be aware of in order to remain responsive in their communities.

"This book provides a clear discussion of community colleges' mission and a penetrating analysis of the ways in which several factors—most notably, ethnic composition and number of campuses per district—can affect their ability to fulfill that mission. It is well worth reading for anyone who wishes to understand the challenges facing those vitally important educational institutions." –Industrial and Labor Relations Review

"This very readable monograph advances our knowledge about the role in local workforce development that each community college plays. Policymakers and researchers should consider it because the methodology, as well as the findings, can contribute to policy making at both the state and local levels." –Willard Hom, Director, Research & Planning, Chancellor's Office, California Community Colleges