Access, Alignment, and Accountability: Charting the College’s Future

10/25/05


Wow! I am truly jazzed up about our future. In a few short weeks, Cumberland County College will meet for a Strategic Planning Conference to chart the next five years of development. We will work with college, community and statewide leaders to identify the important areas of work the college must engage in to move the county and the college forward. We will frame these issues around three interlocking themes: access, alignment and accountability. Some of the questions we will address include:

• How can we assure that more high school students graduate ready to access post-secondary job and educational settings?

• How can we assure that the high school diploma is aligned with post-secondary education readiness?

• What three or four key high growth industries would the county like to attract and maintain?

• How do we align a K-14 or 16 curriculum throughout the county to build career/academic ladders that will support these industries?

• What are the indicators that will help us track our progress in these areas?

This planning is vital to the continued success of Cumberland County. As we look at job growth in the high demand industries of the 21st century, we know the jobs that provide family sustaining careers require post-secondary education and training. We also know that to attract and maintain these industries we must align our high school educational outcomes with access to post-secondary education and training.

These are not small challenges; however, the pay-off is great. Cumberland County needs more family sustaining jobs. These jobs will only be available to those communities that invest heavily in workforce development though rigorous education and training. This investment is not in dollars. It calls for a countywide commitment.

That’s why we are particularly delighted to be joined in the strategic planning process by local school superintendents, CEOs from our businesses, elected county officials, statewide leaders in K-12 education, higher education and workforce development, and college leaders from the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board, and the student body, faculty and staff.

We will make no little plans. Stay tuned.