external image community.jpg
What is Outreach?
Outreach is defined differently by each community college. There are, however, many similarities between institutions’ overall definitions of outreach: community outreach can be described as any action a community college does to educate the community and can be seen as a way to serve the joint purposes of providing services that benefit the entire community. Examples of outreach include fostering partnerships with community employers (i.e. through internships), increasing college presence in the community, and forming relationships with community advocates and other influential community members. Other examples of outreach may be providing special programs to recruit and support non-traditional students, increasing access for low income and first generation students, creating workforce development opportunities and for under employed and unemployed workers. Unfortunately, the outreach services that a community college provides is limited by their funding and available staff.
HISTORY OF OUTREACHThe history of Community College Outreach is aligned with the history of Community Colleges. Below is a list of important dates that greatly impacted Community College outreach. For a more detailed explanation of the history of Community Colleges please visit our page about history.
1900: WIlliam Rainey Harper (U. Chicago):"many students who might not have the courage to enter upon a course of four years study would be willing do the two years of work before entering business or the professional school"
1924: Koos: Described and applauded the occupational curricula of the junior colleges of the early 1920's.
1927: Alexis Lange: Indicated junior colleges would train technicians occupying the middle ground between manual laborers and professional people.
1944: G.I. Bill. Provided funding for education for soldiers returning from war. It covered not only their education expenses, but also, their living expenses.
1962: Manpower Development Training Act of 1962. A federal program designed to retrain technologically displaced workers.
1963: Federal Vocational Education Act. Federal funds provided for “institutions where education was less than college grade,” (Cohen and Brawer, p. 254). This is how the U.S. Department of Education described programs that taught trade and industrial skills.
1973: Comprehensive Training and Employment Administration.
1982: Job Training Partnership Act.
1984: Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act. Provided money to disadvantaged and disabled students who were enrolled in vocational education programs.
1994: School to Work Opportunities Act, Advanced Technical Education Program
1998: Workforce Investment Act. Required "states and localities to bring together federally funded employment and training programs into a comprehensive workforce investment system, called the one-stop shop," (GAO Workforce Development Report, p. 1). An act passed by Congress that had local businesses involved in the workforce development of their communities.


Why is it important?
  1. An effective tool utilized by community colleges to become familiarized with and responsive to the problems facing their various constituencies (Holub, 1996).
  2. Community colleges have had and continue to have a profound effect on improving the lives of those constituencies who participate in their educational programs (Boone, 1992).
  3. There is a critical need for community colleges to become the moving force in effecting and facilitating greater collaboration among the people, their leaders and community-based organizations and agencies in identifying and seeking resolutions to major and complex issues that have a negative effect on a community. These might include: unemployment, underemployment, adult literacy, polluted environment, ineffectual school systems, health care (cost, availability and quality), cultural and ethnic tensions, and substance abuse to name a few of the public issues facing every community in our great nation (Boone, 1992).

Austin Community College has a Community Outreach Office that works to maintain partnerships with churches, schools, universities, school districts, and community organizations. Services provided by the Office include:
  • A Foster Care Alumni Program, which provides “ongoing support for students,” including an orientation program for Foster Care Alumni students
  • A G-Force sponsorship, which seeks to help under-served students attending college after high school
  • A transfer scholarship program between Austin Community College and Huston-Tillotson University
The Great Expectations Program: This is an initiative of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education. The Great Expectations website provides foster youth with information about several aspects of college life, including enrolling in school, budgeting, finding a home, staying healthy, finding transportation, and finding a job, among other topics.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vFcxIVrGVo
John Tyler Community College offers a list of outreach services on their website, including the following:
  • The Angel Tree Program: a partnership with the Salvation Army that is designed to help children in the community enjoy the holidays; students at John Tyler purchase gifts for children in need in the community
  • Food for Art: a community festival hosted by faculty and staff that is designed to allow faculty and staff to “share their talents and the College’s offerings with the community” through hands-on activities
  • Legislative advocacy: John Tyler has students assigned to the Virginia General Assembly; John Tyler students attend meetings with legislators


  • Community education includes many things. "The concept describes an area of service that knows no limits on client age, prior educational attainment, interest, or intent, and the scope of offerings is limited only by staff energies and imagination and by the funds available," (Cohen and Brawer, p. 323)
A. Traditional Forms of Education
  1. Adult Education: Designed for people who have either completed or interrupted their formal education. These individuals also do not fit into the traditional college age student of 18-22.
  2. Adult Basic Education: Basic skills instruction for adults who function at less than a high school level. Instruction may include English as a Second Language (ESL), General Education Development (GED), or literacy programming.
  3. Continuing Occupational/Workforce Education: Any type of non-credit instruction or training designed to upgrade job skills or prepare one to enter an occupation. Courses may be tailored for a specific job or industry, or may have broader applicability.
  4. Lifelong Learning and Entrepreneurship Training: Intermittent education, which may be undertaken at school or other settings. Courses may be community service oriented rather than recreation and leisure.
B. Vocational Education
New vocationalism is centered on five core principles (Bragg, 2001 as reported by Hennigan, ERIC 2003):
  1. Career clusters that extend from entry-level positions through professional levels in field considered integral to the economy.
  2. An integrated curriculum consisting of both academic and vocational elements.
  3. More integration into the K-16 educational system and a broader base of economic and social structure.
  4. Active teaching strategies, learner centered instruction, constructivist theories, and project base approaches to teaching.
  5. More holistic instruction and a curriculum that is more meaningful in applicability.
C. Contract Education
Collaborations between the community colleges and business, industry and other agencies. Training provided for, and at least partially funded by, particular industries. Contract training normally occurs for 3 major reasons (Cohen and Brawer):
  1. Training designed for specific employees at a specific company.
  2. Training for public agency employees
  3. Training for specific groups of people. (i.e. unemployed people, especially in today's market)
    • Inherent in each of these core principles is the input of business. Active participation by business allows for more comprehensive, tailor-made programs that are mutually beneficial to all parties: students, community colleges, and businesses. (For more information)
D. Correctional Education
In 2007, 1 in every 198 American citizens were incarcerated, and this number is only expected to increase. More bleakly, the US Department of Justice estimates that anywhere between one-half and two-thirds of released inmates will end up returning to prison (Mercer, 2009). Educational interventions offer the opportunity for inmates to improve behavior, career prospects, and the odds of successfully reintegrating into society.
  1. Community college involvement may include some combination of the following:
    • Participation in college and career fairs at youth detention centers and correctional high schools
    • Basic skills and literacy training
    • Job search and HR procedures skill training
  2. Social development and life skills training
    • Computational and vocational skills training
    • Access to college courses and the ability to earn credit towards an Associate’s degree
    • Opportunities such as on-the-job apprenticeship training
  3. The structure and type of programming for correctional education varies by state. For example:
    • Inmates may enroll in distance learning programs and courses through community colleges.
    • The Department of Correction contracts with individual community colleges to offer courses, as in Illinois.
    • In North Carolina, the Department of Corrections and the Community College System collaborate to ensure widespread cooperation between 45 community colleges and 78 prisons. In 2006, close to 2,000 inmates received GEDs, almost 40 received an A.A or A.S, and another 1,300 earned a certificate (http://www.nccommunitycolleges.edu/News_Releases/Prison_Luncheon.htm).
    • States may receive Federal grants to develop programs such as the Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Program in Virginia, which operates through community colleges (Cohen & Brawer, 2008).
  4. Funding may come from many different sources:
    • States may receive Federal grants to develop programs such as the Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders Program in Virginia, which operates through community colleges (Cohen & Brawer, 2008).
    • In 1994, Pell Grants for inmates were eliminated, but charitable donations often help to make up the difference in funding these programs (Cohen & Brawer, 2008).
    • Some states, such as North Carolina, have systems of authorization in place to allow community colleges to waive tuition and fees for inmates, since incarcerated students generate FTE funding and will be more likely to be productive, contributing members of society because of their education
Outreach efforts may even extend beyond the walls of the prison or community, as in the case of Southern Virginia Community College, where an inmate at the local Lunenberg Correctional Center is helping to lead SVCC’s efforts to raise money for a children’s home in Africa. Read the full story at http://www.southside.edu/news/inmatehelps.asp.
  1. For additional perspectives and success stories, the importance of education for inmates and further resources see the following:
======E. High School Students Outreach Efforts======
Many schools offer outreach programs to raise awareness and access to college for high school students, recent graduates and members of the community.
F. Collaborative and Apprenticeship Programs
Collaborative agreements often exist directly between community colleges and local industries or companies. One very successful example of this is found in Northrop Grumman's Apprentice School, which provides technical vocational training in one of 24 different programs to admitted students, while allowing them to earn an associate's degree through the local Thomas Nelson Community College. Students have access to VCCS resources through Thomas Nelson Community College, and also have the opportunity to participate in inter-varsity athletics.
  1. The Apprentice School
A. Services provided to the community
  1. Recreation and Leisure- Often offered on a short-term basis.
  2. Cultural Art Centers- Venues where concerts, performing arts, and other events take place. Opened to the community and performed by community members.


Community Based Partnerships

NOVA/CBO Initiative
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) partners with several community-based organizations (CBO) to offer its credit courses at the CBO sites. The mission of the NOVA/CBO Initiative is to provide education and training to individuals at non-profit organizations that will create gateways of opportunity to higher education, better jobs and increased earnings to Northern Virginians who are pursuing the American dream. Students receive college credit and job training in the administrative technologies, business management, finance, entrepreneurship, and information technologies fields. NOVA provides students with advising, financial aid workshops, and assistance with application and registration.

external image cover.jpg
external image NOVA_V_2c_transparent.gif

Walla Walla Community College William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center
Faced with the challenges of restoring the watershed, recovering fish runs, and better managing limited water resources, organizations in the Walla Walla Valley came together in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation to create the Walla Walla Community College William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center.
The WWCC Water & Environmental Center focuses on collaboration and education for environmental and economic sustainability. WEC facilitates regional and local partnership programs, provides community and K-12 education opportunities, and coordinates the WWCC Watershed Ecology degree program, campus sustainability and "Go Green Club" activities.
The William A. Grant Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College is committed to contributing to the well-being of their regional community by…
  • Providing a place for collaborative dialogue
  • Fostering and modeling the use of innovative practices
  • Promoting and practicing the use of effective partnerships
  • Offering educational programs that address 21stCentury water and environmental challenges
  • Achieving heightened awareness and use of environmentally sustainable practices
  • Supporting environmental protection and restoration efforts throughout the region
external image clear.gif

external image dc8e24c66b.gif

College Access, Transistion and Success

Pathway to the Baccalaureate is a consortium of education institutions in Northern Virginia -- K-12 public schools, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University – who have joined forces to provide a web of support to students as they make the transition from high school, through NOVA to George Mason or another university. Pathway has emerged as an award-winning program model that has demonstrated remarkable outcomes in the areas of college access, success and persistence.
external image headerlogo.jpg

In response to the critical shortage of scientists, engineers and technicians, SySTEMic Solutions has been working with area corporations and with the school divisions in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park to develop a strategy for enlarging the STEM pipeline from high school, to NOVA, to George Mason University, and into the workforce.
Through SySTEMic Solutions, NOVA has created a collaborative arrangement among school divisions, higher education institutions, and employers to develop a sustainable workforce that by the year 2015 will have more than 3,000 students preparing for STEM careers.
external image headerlogo.jpg
The Office of Bridges To Success (BTS), formally Recruitment and Retention of Ethnically Diverse Students (R&R EDS) is responsible for working with ethnically diverse populations to assist with the post-secondary transition from application to enrollment and graduation; assist the college in creating an educational environment that supports the success of these students. In addition, BTS is committed to helping all students become successful in achieving their educational and career goals. We know that the “road to success” can be challenging as students balance their academic course work, responsibilities and personal life. An important element in a student’s success at Valencia is the connection with people and services that can assist them when they need it. BTS works within the college to provide services and programs of interest and benefit to our diverse student population.
BTS, as a part of its action plan for minority recruitment and retention maintains vital connections with colleges and universities throughout the country, and with minority churches and other civic and ethnic groups in the community.
external image header.jpg
external image valencia-college-logo.png

Community Programs

NOVA’s Adult Career Pathways program serves unemployed or underemployed workers, low-wage workers, work-eligible immigrants comfortable with reading and writing English, and young career starters with a high school degree or GED. The program connects participants with NOVA college and career counselors who assist them in developing an education or training plan to earn a certification or credential that may help them qualify for and secure a better job with a path toward advancement and greater economic security.
ACP College and Career Counselors help participants:
  • Assess their skills and experience;
  • Identify career goals and pathways to achieve them;
  • Develop an individual plan of education, training, or other program(s);
  • Learn about programs and opportunities available through NOVA; and
  • Navigate the procedures necessary to attend classes and apply for financial assistance.

external image NOVA_V_2c_transparent.gif
CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Children) is California's Welfare plan in response to Federal TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) Program. Due to the strict time limits CalWORKs/TANF participants' clocks are ticking. Time to prepare for self-sufficiency is running out! Santa Barbara City College has responded by creating a program which allows CalWORKs participants to attend the city college (main campus or adult education) for education and training. The college provides education, employment training, support services and work study opportunities to increase wage earning power and lead to self-sufficiency. Funding for child care is available as well. An advisor is available to help develop an education and employment plan that address both short-term and long-term goals. If a family is to achieve self-sufficiency increasing wage earning power through education is essential to their success.

external image 7.1.png

Miami Dade College, Minority and Small Business Enterprise (MSBE)
Miami Dade College's commitment to the enrichment of this community extends beyond the classroom into the local economy. There is no better place to connect with the local economy than at Miami Dade College. As one of the county's largest and most diverse organizations, Miami Dade College is uniquely positioned to initiate and develop partnerships with businesses as a catalyst for revitalization of our community. Therefore, it is the College’s strategic goal for the Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) Program to partner with the community, and foster economic growth and development of small and local businesses. In keeping with this goal, the College has adopted and approved a new Small Local Business Enterprise Policy with initiatives to support our growing local economy.
external image MDC_2h.jpg

Miami Dade College’s Working Solutions, a year-long program on the Wolfson campus that trains displaced homemakers — and now others, including laid-off workers — to re-enter the workforce or move into higher-paying jobs.This is a year-long program of Miami-Dade College and the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. The program help homemakers develop work skills in order to re-enter the workforce. The program is free of charge, and there are no fees for potential employers. They assist homemakers 35 years of age or older, who need training to transition to a job. These are individuals who have been supported by a spouse or family member, but are no longer due to divorce, separation, death, or disability. Or, clients have been on government assistance (such as Unemployment Compensation, Food Stamps, or TANF) and want to become self- sufficient. The program offers a variety of services, including: l) customized training; 2) financial counseling; 3) academic counseling; 4) job referral and placement, and 5) community referrals. These services are individualized, according to clients' needs. They accommodate the Spanish and Creole-speaking populations. The program goals are to help clients complete training and get a job.
external image MDC_2h.jpg

Project Reach
MDC has been selected by the American Association of Community Colleges ( www.aacc.nche.edu ) as one of eight colleges to receive grants to help college students with disabilities participate in community service and service learning. Through “Project Reach: Service Inclusion for Community College Students,” a three-year national initiative funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service ( http://www.nationalservice.org ), the colleges will create opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in service-learning and learn life skills to help with employment, careers, and personal development. The Center for Community Involvement is in partnership with the ACCESS departments at each campus where the grant is being implemented.
external image MDC_2h.jpg

Mobile Go Center (MGC)

MGC mission is to create a college-going culture by promoting college awareness in LSCS surrounding communities by visiting schools, shopping malls, community centers, and other locations and brining college-related information, motivation and assistance directly to prospective students and their families.
Mobile Go Centers reach out to students and parents through community partnerships and provide them with the tools and information they need to make college a reality. Mobile Go Centers are part of the College for Texans campaign to support state Closing the Gaps efforts to draw an additional 630,000 Texans into colleges and universities by 2015.
external image lonestar_small(1).jpg

Project M.A.L.E. Initiative (PMI)

PMI is a comprehensive Student Success initiative targeting male students currently making the transition from high school into the Lone Star College System, and ultimately into a four-year institution. It is a tool for promoting counseling, testing, tutoring, academic advisement, financial aid, job placement, mentoring, and personal growth while simultaneously enhancing the student's academic standing in the classroom.
external image lonestar_small(1).jpg


Watch the video below of a speech President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden gave at Hudson Valley Community College. It addresses the future of community colleges and the growth that is to come.

A. Funding* It will depend on its funding and how it is organized within the college.

  1. Community education is usually funded by participant fees, grants or contracts with external organization.
  2. A novel idea of funding education is tax breaks for companies that support K-12 or Community College Education (An example in Pennsylvania:http://www.communitycollegetimes.com/article.cfm?TopicId=4&ArticleId=2576&PF=Y )
B. Directions
  1. As one of the key areas in which community colleges are expanding in general, online education is poised to be a major player in the future of community college outreach. A strong online presence not only allows for outreach in the recruiting sense by bringing education to different student populations, but also can help in community outreach (Garza Mitchell, 2009)
C. American Graduation Initiative
  1. $2 billion federal dollars to be spent on Community Colleges.
  2. The law specifically states that the money is to be used on job training at Community Colleges.

Community College Student Engagement:
Community outreach does not necessarily have to be on behalf of administrators; students can also be engaged in the community. Service learning has been reported to have a positive impact on student learning outcomes, according to the American Association for Community Colleges. One way for students to participate is through service learning:
  • Mesa Community College offers the only national organization “dedicated to bringing the benefits of service learning and civic engagement to community colleges across the country.” Students can participate in a range of projects, including working to help victims of human trafficking and learning how to develop a civic and moral responsibility to communities through the Service Learning for Civic Capacity Project. Website: http://ccncce.org/
  • Additional information: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/Resources/aaccprograms/horizons/Pages/default.aspx
Other resources:
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pon82pl5QkM


  • An overview of community coll​ege outreach from the Central Michigan University Dept. of Ed Admin and Community Leadership http://www.ehs.cmich.edu/ccr/community.htm
  • Amey, M. J., Eddy, P. L. and Ozaki, C. C. (2007). Demands for Partnership and Collaboration in Higher Education: A Model. New Directions for Community Colleges, no. 139. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Partnership and Collaboration in Higher Education.pdf
  • Boone, E. J. Community-Based Programming: An Opportunity and Imperative for the Community College. Community College Review. 1992. 20(3):8-20.
  • Boone, E. J. & associates. Community leadership through community-based programming: The role of the community college. Washington, DC. Community College Press.
  • Cohen, A. M., & Brawer, F. B. (2008). The American Community College 5th Ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
  • GAO. Workforce Development: Community Colleges and One-Stop Centers Collaborate to Meet 21st Century Workforce Needs Workforce Development-GAOReport.pdf
  • Garza Mitchell, R. (2009). Online education and organizational change. Community College Review, 37(1), 81-101.
  • Harlacher, E. L. & Gollattscheck (1978). Implementing community based education. New Directions for Community Colleges, no 21. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
  • Holub, J. D. (1996). The Role of the Rural Community College in Rural Community Development. ERIC digest. http://www.ericdigests.org/1996-3/rural.htm
  • Mercer, K. (2009). The Importance of Funding Post-secondary Correctional Educational Programs. Community College Review, 37(2), 153-164.
  • Sink, D. W., and Jackson, K. L.(2002). Successful Community College Campus Based Partnerships. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 26(1), 35-46.