A Developmental and Holistic Approach to Learning and Meeting the Needs of the Workforce: AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) for Higher Education and Community College Partnerships

A Developmental and Holistic Approach to Learning and Meeting the Needs of the Workforce: AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) for Higher Education and Community College Partnerships

Fernando Valle (Texas Tech University, USA), Stacy A. Jacob (Slippery Rock University, USA), Rachel Torres (AVID for Higher Education, USA) and Evelyn Hiatt (AVID for Higher Education, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8481-2.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter examines the partnerships and holistic and developmental process of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) for Higher Education in two community colleges. Innovative leadership practices and partnerships by administrators, faculty and staff to improve institution and workforce success are at the center of these two community college case studies. Real implementation challenges such as student persistence and participation, faculty buy-in, were faced. Supporting career and technology education plus new approaches in teaching were part of the paradigm shift that contributed to the overall success of students and faculty participating in AVID for Higher Education (AHE). The study uses the AHE framework as a system for community colleges to leverage rigor and skill development for a global workforce. This case study highlights the work to improve faculty pedagogy and engagement and support historically underrepresented students to continue the improvement of college completion, transition and be workforce ready.
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Introduction

American community colleges have become the largest sector of higher education, enrolling 6.5 million students each year for credit-bearing courses and about 5 million for non-credit bearing courses (Watt, Huerta, & Alkan, 2012). The degree earning at community colleges is an important facet of the institution, but it is important to recognize they serve many purposes beyond degree attainment. Community colleges are in a position to create and recreate curricular offerings to meet technological and workforce demands that will supply a national workforce and global talent needed for specialized industry. Community colleges benefit their states, the local communities and the students they serve. They have also served as a gateway to higher education for many minority students.

Community colleges enroll 46% of all U.S. undergraduates including 47% percent of undergraduates who are African American and 55% who are Hispanic (Watt, Huerta, & Alkan, 2012). Nationally, half of all four-year college graduates have attended community colleges prior to earning their degrees (The College Board, 2008). Community colleges are the higher education institution of choice for many students who are members of groups that are underrepresented in higher education (College Board, 2008). This chapter examines the implementation of AVID for Higher Education’s Student Success Initiative in community colleges and the partnerships within campuses which are innovatively guiding historically underrepresented students toward institutional and workforce success.

Community colleges continue to develop partnerships with industry to develop what is valued and develop the expertise to teach the future workforce. The common vision for community colleges and industry alike is to develop the right skills sets and have students trained on the right innovative technological tools. The President of the American Association of Community Colleges, Walter Bumphus, was quoted by the Aspen Institute Skills for America’s Future (n.d.) arguing,

Your best workforce resource may be your local community college. As colleges reimagine their roles for the 21st century, they are committing to work with business and industry to provide trained and adaptable talent. We encourage companies to work with their community college partners to develop programs and pipelines that meet their current and future needs.

Examining how a system, like AVID for Higher Education, has impacted student success in certificates, programs and institutions of higher education which are preparing students for the future global workforce is important to the workforce pipeline. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) for higher education is a research-based program that focuses on post-secondary strategies for student success through research based high engagement practices and a focus on elements of rigor. AVID’s philosophy is designed to reverse the trend of students who fail to persist both in K-12 and in higher education. AVID for Higher Education (AHE) builds on the 30 year history of successfully preparing elementary and secondary students for college and career readiness, as a reform model (Guthrie & Guthrie, 2000 & 2002; Watt, Powell, & Mendiola, 2004). AVID has historically focused on the first generation student and underrepresented students who are in the academic middle, many of which are enrolled in community colleges today.

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