SRI Blog

Continuing the Conversation: Engaging Industry and Students in STEM Middle Skill Jobs

Discussion Thread 1: How Can We Foster Partnerships between Community Colleges and Industry?

Our research has found that the more community colleges collaborate with local industry partners, the more “partnership capital” they develop, which leads to benefits such as:

  • Greater responsiveness to changes in local economy, policy initiatives, and funding opportunities

  • Greater innovation in instructional design

  • Improvement in how industry hiring managers perceive community college credentials and graduates

What Do You Think?

What technician learning innovations are out there? What changes need to happen to improve the future of partnership? Please share your comments below.


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Ron Harrison

The book Adult Career Pathways discusses that issue of "cherry-picking" potential employees while they are in the "blended" educational/vocational training. Has anyone witnessed incentives work that curtail this activity? How can these employers be tapped to work in partnership rather than in competition? This requires a culture shift.

Carl Lavender

How have you engaged the nonprofit industry in the study?


Were there any ideas or methods to starting the partnerships?

Lauree Preece

Have you observed how partnerships with high schools further leverages the benefits?

Matthias Pleil

We deal with several small high-tech start ups, they are time-constrained—how can you engage them effectively?

Caroline Porter

Do you have any numbers to show how many community colleges are partnering with industry, and in what capacity?

Jan Bray

Did you research the use of online education-how is it being used to connect industry and is it helping to expand program capacity?

Tom Navickas

To what extent have CC's aligned with secondary education's career & technical education (CTE) successes in finding alignment and sponsorship with industry stakeholders?

Celia Garcia

How will minority and under-served group of the community benefit and how are their special needs being considered?

Ron Harrison

Do you find that certain industries are "friendly" to these partnership and certain industries are particularly "hesitant" to participate?

Liz Elvin

It sounds like so much of what is necessary for student success - hands-on, simulators, etc. - is already available for apprenticeship program participants. Did you look at apprenticeship and the growing connections - articulation agreements - between those programs and community colleges?

Lorrie Toni

Is the rapidity of change within business and industry making certificates and degrees irrelevant?