A Perfect Storm? President Obama, The Great Recession, And Community Colleges

Debra D. Bragg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose-President Obama positions community colleges as a linchpin of federal policy on education and training for citizens adversely affected by the recession. Chief among recommended reforms is the notion of career pathways that enable students, especially non-traditional age adults, to participate in postsecondary education directed at employment.

Design/methodology/approach-This paper reviews the literature on career pathway reforms to describe these programs and the students who enroll in them. It also presents evidence from two third-party evaluations of federal grants supporting career pathway implementation.

Findings-Results suggest career pathway programs are spreading throughout the United States through unprecedented levels of federal funding. Adult learners are a primary target group, but more data are needed to determine on a deeper level who these students are and whether they are being well served.

Originality/value-This paper offers new information to help readers consider whether President Obama's agenda will achieve its goals and positively impact college completion and economic recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-118
Number of pages26
JournalAdvances in Education in Diverse Communities: Research, Policy and Praxis
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult education
  • Community college
  • Federal policy
  • Postsecondary education
  • Underrepresented students
  • Workforce training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology


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