Community Colleges Found Lacking in Career Preparation, Says New Survey

community colleges

A new report out of the University of Texas- Austin’s Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) finds that many community college students find their schools lacking when it comes to adequate career preparation.

The 2023 study surveyed over 83,000 community college students at nearly 200 different schools across the nation. The results showed that a large percentage of students are dissatisfied with the way their colleges approach career preparation. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said that the curriculum lacked adequate information about in-demand jobs in their area.

One student surveyed had this to say about their community college experience: “We don’t get anyone to come and talk to us about career choices. We don’t talk about it. We just go to class, do the chapter for that week, and then that’s about it.”

The report also highlighted the reliance on resources outside of the college for information on future careers. Twenty-nine percent of community college students surveyed said they receive this information from family and friends while another 13 percent say they get the information from current employers. Responses like this have some experts worried that students aren’t making the most informed decisions when career planning.

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse indicates that enrollment in two-year schools is up 16% since 2022. With more students leaning toward vocational training as opposed to a four-year degree, it’s imperative that community colleges meet the challenge of preparing them for their future careers.

Survey collaborator Jobs for the Future (JFF) says this research “highlight[s] the immediate need for community colleges to provide additional opportunities for career development, work-based learning, and embedded industry skills.”


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