Report | May 8, 2017

Why Community Colleges are the Sturdiest Bridge to a Successful Workforce

Pennsylvania is a good case study in demonstrating how community colleges can help fill the skills gap.

According to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, more than half of employers reported having difficulty hiring people with adequate skills, training, or education. This is especially true of the technical/skilled trade jobs.

By 2020, 63 percent of Pennsylvania’s jobs will require at least some postsecondary education. However, based on current projections, only 55 percent of American workers will have acquired some level of postsecondary education.

In this ReadyNation report, we detail how community colleges can help fill this skills gap. In many communities, community college offers students the most affordable way to develop skills that prepare people for the workforce—and the middle class earnings they can sustain over a lifetime. What’s more, the flexibility and affordability of community colleges make them ideal for working parents who are seeking postsecondary credentials to better their lives.

That’s why ReadyNation members in Pennsylvania and around the country support community colleges as a means to train the future workforce. Community colleges help close the skills gap, while increasing earnings and decreasing unemployment.

Here, we’ll describe the importance of community colleges on a local and federal level, and outline four steps that policymakers can take to strengthen community colleges and our workforce.


  1. Pennsylvania*