Lakeland News Posting

Lakeland awareness campaign highlights the importance of community colleges in April

Re-Posted: April 1, 2021
Original Post Date: April 6, 2021

April is National Community College Month!

Lakeland Community College is taking part in Community College Month (#CCMonth), an education and stigma-busting campaign coordinated by the Association of Community College Trustees. The primary goals of #CCMonth are to improve awareness of the economic, academic and equity advantages of attending community colleges, and to bust longtime stigmas wrongly associated with public two-year colleges.

"The past year has proved beyond any doubt that our college is absolutely vital to our community and our region," said Lakeland President Dr. Morris Beverage Jr. "Community college month is an opportunity to reach out and demonstrate not only that community colleges should be the first choice of many collegegoers, but why community colleges are first-class institutions that are vital to our local and state economies."

The college will launch an awareness "Did You Know?" campaign to be implemented via its digital channels such as the website and social media accounts to spotlight key facts about community colleges.
Some highlights include:

  • There are 1,044 community colleges across the country.
  • Fifty-six percent of U.S. community college students are age 22 or younger; 36% are age 22-39; and 8% are over 40.
  • In 2018-2019, 878,900 associate degrees and 619,711 certificates were awarded nationwide.
  • About 6.8 million students in the U.S. are enrolled in two-year colleges.
  • Over 4 million community college students attend part-time and 2.4 million attend full-time.
  • The average age of a community college student in the U.S. is 28.
  • Across the country, 62% of all full-time students at community colleges work; 72% of all part-time students at community colleges work.
  • Among community college students in the U.S., 29% are first in their family to attend college, 15% are single parents, and 20% are students with disabilities.
  • More than 40% of all U.S. undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges.

Public community colleges are a uniquely American educational model. The Truman Commission, established and chaired by educator George F. Zook, fueled the community college boom of the 1960s and brought the reaches of higher education to many areas throughout the United States. Attending college was once considered a possibility only for the elite, and the advent of the community college made it accessible to the masses. Lakeland itself was established in 1967 as a result of this movement to provide accessible higher education to the people of Lake County.

The use of community colleges as places to learn quick skills grew as more and more as businesses could not find enough qualified people to hire. Workforce investment has, and continues to, pour into community colleges including Lakeland to meet the needs of the community for high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Most recently due to the global pandemic, the importance of vital, health care professionals placed Lakeland among the most essential institutions to train and educate this sector of the workforce.

Since 1967, Lakeland has adapted offerings to changing student profiles. More flexible options were added for working adults and older students, and high school students can now earn college credit to save time and money on earning a college degree. In recent years, a rigorous honors program was launched for high academic achievers. Online classes were already in place pre-pandemic but over the past year those offerings accelerated as the need for remote learning options became necessary.

Community colleges can serve as a gateway to bachelor's, master's and higher-level degrees for many. Lakeland students, in particular, have many options to transfer credits through the college's Holden University Center located on campus.

About National Community College Month
In recognition of the important contribution of community, technical, and junior colleges to educational system in the U.S., in 1985, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 158, designated the month of February as "National Community College Month" and authorized and requested President Ronald Reagan to issue a proclamation in observance of this event. The observance of community college month was later moved to the month of April.

By: Jessica Novak

Media Contact:
Kerry Jonke