No community college, no future

Without a community college, Erie, Pennsylvania keeps losing jobs and laid-off workers can’t afford to retrain. Industry is disinvesting.

Student aid fuels tuition inflation.

Retraining is tough for ex-steelworkers

When RG Steel closed in Baltimore, laying off 2,000 well-paid steelworkers, Community College of Baltimore County offered workers a chance to retool. But college was a hard sell, despite federal retraining aid for displaced workers. “It’s a group of men who think college is for other people,” says Brian Penn, who runs the college’s heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and energy technology program.

Job retraining fails if there are no jobs

President Obama touts job retraining at community colleges to enable laid-off workers to close the “skills gap.” Mitt Romney agrees that  retraining is the answer.  But it hasn’t worked in Janesville, Wisconsin, where a GM plant closed four years ago. Laid-off workers who took vocational classes at a nearby technical college ended up working less and earning less than their former co-workers who didn’t go back to school. Why? There aren’t many jobs.

After the auto plant closed …

PBS will air As Goes Janesville: A Small Town Struggles in the Recession this evening. The documentary includes a profile of a laid-off assembly-line worker who enrolled in a Wisconsin community college to train as a medical lab technician.

Manufacturers seek skilled workers

Manufacturers are hiring — but they want skilled or trainable workers to run very expensive machines.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  When a sawmill in rural Maine laid off 200 workers, the nearby community college started job training classes in mid-seemster.

Alabama colleges mourn tornado victims

Alabama’s community colleges are mourning students killed in the devastating tornadoes. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed or cancelled.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Michigan’s community colleges are learning how to retrain laid-off workers — many with poor reading, writing and math skills — so they’re not “left behind.”

Jobless seek hurry-up training

Laid-off workers in St. Louis want short-term training programs that let them rejoin the workforce quickly. Few have the motivation or skills to earn a degree.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Students taking online community college classes are more likely to fail than students in traditional classes, concludes a Washington state study concludes.

‘Tiger’ kids in community college

Chinese “tiger mothers,” who demand excellence from their children, are superior to Western moms, claims Amy Chua, a Yale law professor with two high-performing daughters.  More tiger children end up at community colleges than the Ivy League, writes a Pasadena Community College professor. And these kids are depressed by their failure to meet their parents’ unreasonable expectations. Some are suicidal.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Laid-off workers in Iowa are turning to community colleges for retraining, but wait lists are long for programs in health care, welding and other high-demand fields.

Laid-off workers learn new jobs

On Community College Spotlight:

Laid-off workers learn new skills in Ohio.

Manufacturing tech is reborn in Michigan.

Retraining needs redesigning

On Community College Spotlight: Many retraining programs don’t help laid-off workers find new jobs, but a Detroit-area community college claims a 65 percent job placement rate for laid-off auto designers who take a skills refresher course.