Community Colleges Faulted On Health Studies

Ann McClure's picture
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The state’s community college system is failing to adequately prepare students for technical careers in high-demand health care fields because it is too disjointed for students and employers to navigate, according to the first sweeping report to lay out the problem and suggest solutions.

The report, released yesterday, lists a litany of issues holding back potential employees and hindering one of the city’s crucial industries. The colleges vary in how they assess academic performance, using different test scores to judge whether students need remedial education. They do not make it easy to transfer from one school to another. Some offer entry-level training programs in certain fields, such as nursing, but do not allow those credits to count toward advanced diplomas later on.

The result is that students must put enormous energy into figuring out how to obtain the qualifications they want - often so much that they end up dropping out instead - and employers do not know if students with the same degrees from different schools are equally qualified.

“Community colleges should be a steppingstone for opportunity, and instead some of them are a roadblock,’’ said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “You hear things like, ‘Oh, we have a 15 percent graduation rate; we’re good.’ Give me a break.’’

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