Linking to the Labor Market

Never before has the link been stronger between education, the economic competitiveness of our nation, and social mobility for individuals. However, while the wage premium for those who hold a postsecondary credential is at an all-time high, there remain significant gaps between what the U.S. higher education system delivers, and the skills needed to fill current and future jobs.

This makes the role of community colleges all the more vital. These institutions are talent development engines for companies and pathways to greater opportunity for individuals from all walks of life. But, to drive student success and strengthen communities, colleges will need to contend with a rapidly changing workforce landscape and increasingly complex and diverse student needs.

What colleges do to help students build a sense of purpose and connect their education to career opportunities makes a difference. Exceptional colleges around the country are employing innovative strategies to connect learning to the workforce demands in the region and ensure that students have robust opportunities after completion. The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program is exploring how community colleges can meet these challenges and create robust pathways to opportunity for all students.
"By 2024, over 37% of jobs are projected to require some education beyond high school”
(Bureau of Labor Statistics)
“Up to 54 million workers, or a third of the US workforce, will need to be retrained due to automation.”
(McKinsey Global Institute Analysis)
"Associate degree holders have gained more than 3 million good-paying
jobs since 1991."
(The Good Jobs Project, Georgetown CEW)

Siemens-Aspen Community College STEM Award

Labor Market Research


Aligning Talent and Opportunity: An Employer Guide to Effective Community College Parternship
The Workforce Playbook
Executive Summary: The Workforce Playbook
CNN Business: The secret to closing the nation’s skills gap
From College to Jobs: Making Sense of Labor Market Returns to Higher Education
Our work on workforce development is made possible by generous support from Ascendium, ECMC Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation.
Contact us for more information.
Brittney Davidson, Senior Program Manager