The spring of 2021 has offered no shortage of opportunities to reflect on the critical role Community Colleges play in the lives of our students and communities, many of whom have been underserved and overlooked since long before recent events upended our worlds.
March, of course, marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration that the COVID-19 outbreak had become a global pandemic. How has your Community College changed since then?
Looking from the past to future, April’s designation as National Community College Month subsequently encourages all of us to celebrate the unique accomplishments, aspirations and solutions shared by Community College educators across the nation.
As soon as the pandemic hit, TargetX focused on trying to understand what its impact was going to be for Community Colleges. Our work included conducting the Community College COVID-19 Impact Study, which uncovered trends about how enrollment and operations were being impacted as a result of pandemic. It examined different approaches to recruitment and student success as well as the operational and financial barriers facing institutions.
According to our survey, 93% of respondents at the time felt that the overall mood of their teams was “concerned, but engaged.” That level of engagement was apparent from the outset, as Community Colleges became focal points for community well-being and innovation. They served as COVID testing hubs; their faculty and students pivoted rapidly to churn out much needed personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer with little prior planning. Community Colleges continue to serve as beacons of hope for millions of students working to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
The missions of tomorrow?
Today, many of our students are struggling as much as ever, and Community Colleges recently experienced the largest enrollment decline of any category of higher-ed institution. At the same time, the opportunities Community Colleges offer have never been more vital to those we serve.
In the words of the Association of Community College Trustees, National Community College Month “presents a great opportunity to get the word out about why Community Colleges matter, how your college is serving your community’s needs today and why public support for our colleges is more important than ever.”
TargetX will be helping to “get the word out” in April, but our support of Community Colleges doesn’t begin — or end — with National Community College Month. In February, for example, we sponsored DREAM 2021, Achieving the Dream’s annual flagship conference. And in early 2020, TargetX launched the Community College Suite, a one-of-a-kind CRM that focuses on the uniqueness of Community Colleges and allows institutions to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed.
Please check in on the TargetX blog again soon as we celebrate National Community College Month throughout April. Also, mark your calendars for the upcoming national Community College webinar, “Community College Focus: Addressing Equity-Minded, Inclusive, and Culturally Responsive Student Initiatives,” hosted by TargetX on April 14, 2021, at 2 p.m. (ET)/11 a.m (PT).