Community colleges as labor market intermediaries: a comparative case study of departmental activities in reducing labor market gaps
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Labor market intermediaries (LMIs) have taken on a greater role in regional labor markets as flexibility of work has increased over the past thirty years. These shifting roles necessitate a greater look at institutions that act as LMIs and the services they perform for workers and employers. Community colleges have recently been highlighted as one of the institutions serving workers that offer market molding activities, going beyond more traditional LMI market matching activities. This study compared four LMI placement and career activities - project based learning, internships and cooperative education, specialized accreditation, and industry advisement through councils - for five similar programs of study at community colleges in the City University of New York (CUNY) system to analyze the effects of these activities on employment placement. Greater utilization of these activities by community college departments was found in most cases to be beneficial for students as it regards employment placement in career fields related to the field of study. Activities that were successful in encouraging students to take part in forms of assessment of job-readiness, either through existing standardized testing of job skills or actual work experience, were found to be particularly valuable. These outcomes suggest that mature industries and occupations with established forms of assessment are more likely to provide a smooth transition from degree attainment to employment. Implications for community college administrators and funders are discussed.