Statement of Dr. Karen A. Stout On Proposed Partnership Tax Credit


Silver Spring, MD (January 5, 2016) – Businesses and local community colleges have long enjoyed a collaborative relationship – from participating in developing curriculum to providing work-based learning opportunities for students.  Many Achieving the Dream colleges have been engaging employers very successfully, updating curricula, establishing on-site learning and internships, and sharing information with students about the demand for specific skills in the local labor market. For example, Achieving the Dream’s Northeast Resiliency Consortium, a group of seven New England community colleges, have worked as a group to develop close ties with businesses to create pathways to positions in industries like IT and health care that enable communities to rebound from disasters.

But we know more can be and needs to be done.  Middle-skills jobs account for more than half of the country’s labor market, and middle-skills jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have an average salary of $53,000. These are the jobs expected to grow significantly over the next decade and also the ones that employers today say they cannot find workers to fill.  
President Obama’s new proposal to offer businesses a financial incentive to strengthen their relationships with local community colleges recognizes that more can be done to fill this gap.  By offering incentives for employers to work with community colleges directly to design and even participate in classroom teaching, the proposal builds on effective models already tested through Achieving the Dream colleges.  An enhanced relationship with employers will ensure that the students completing these programs are ready for the workplace.  Apprenticeships and other work-based learning are a key part of this equation of success for the students and the participating employers.  

Employers and employer organizations have been calling for workforce training tax credits, among these the U.S. Chamber.  This proposal is a key step in that direction and a means to close the skills gap for the vital middle skill jobs so critical to our nation’s economy today and in the future.  

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Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 300 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing equity gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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