America's Community Colleges

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Science  23 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6075, pp. 1409
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219366

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In the 2009 American graduation initiative, President Obama enthusiastically highlighted the importance of community colleges—publicly funded 2-year institutions—for meeting the projected growth in jobs requiring a college degree. Increasing the number of college graduates earning science- and math-related degrees depends on these institutions increasing workforce preparation through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Community colleges are accessible, affordable, diverse, and flexible, and thus well positioned to meet this need. However, the current demand for courses far exceeds capacity,* thereby calling for more government, business, and local resources to support these institutions.