Conference Considers the Role of Community Colleges in Workforce Development
January 11, 2013

DAVIS, Calif. — The Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis hosted an interdisciplinary gathering of scholars, educators and policymakers to discuss new research on community colleges and the role they play in workforce development. The conference took place on January 11, 2013.

“The Role of Community Colleges in Workforce Development for Low-Skilled Workers” featured talks from researchers at Georgetown University, the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at CSU Sacramento, MDRC, New Horizons Economic Research, Stanford University, The University of Michigan and UC Davis. Topics included labor market returns from community college degrees, the challenges of working with Unemployment Records data, and new research on programs in Career Technical Education.

Ann Stevens, Center for Poverty Research Director and Chair of Economics at UC Davis, said that education should be considered as important to issues of poverty as public welfare and healthcare programs.

“It’s critical that we routinely think about education as part of that safety net,” said Stevens.

Michal Kurlaender, Associate Professor of Education at UC Davis and conference co-sponsor, said that since two thirds of all college students start out at community colleges, it’s important to understand how their educational outcomes affect labor markets.

“We particularly know little about the vocational and technical programs in community colleges,” said Kurlaender.

The conference highlighted work by UC Davis researchers that is part of a collaboration with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The conference received additional financial support from the UC Davis School of Education and Division of Social Sciences.

About the Center for Poverty Research

The Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis is one of three federally designated centers whose mission is to facilitate and disseminate non-partisan academic research on poverty in the U.S. and to train the next generation of poverty scholars. Our research agenda focuses on labor markets and poverty, children and intergenerational transmission of poverty, the non-traditional safety net, and immigration.

The Center was founded in September, 2011 with core funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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