Colleges partner with communities to recruit students who are homeless

Community colleges nationwide are joining forces with local nonprofits to provide people who are homeless with job training and a path to a degree, Ellie Ashford reports for Community College Daily.

A recent survey from the University of Wisconsin found that approximately 14% of community college students are homeless. Some schools are now making an effort to specifically recruit individuals who are homeless and provide them with job training and a path to receiving a college degree.

"Community colleges are designed to serve the most vulnerable populations," says Carlos Turner Cortez, president of San Diego Community College's Continuing Education Department (SDCE).

In an effort to promote social justice and equity, SDCE partnered with Rescue Mission, an organization that serves people who are homeless and other at-risk populations. SDCE offers non-credit courses in parenting and completing a high school equivalency credential to residents of Rescue Mission's shelter and clients of similar programs. Future courses may include culinary art, as well as training for administrative assistants and accounting technicians.

In Texas, Lone Star College joined forces with the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition (MCHC) to create a workforce training program. Lone Star will train approximately 40 of MCHC's clients as certified line cooks and sous chefs. Lone Star plans to begin recruiting for the program in the fall and will provide students with childcare, food, and utilities.

In New York City, the nonprofit Partnership for the Homeless teamed up with Guttman Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and the Borough of Manhattan Community College to provide career-readiness programming and soft skills to single mothers who are underemployed and formerly homeless. "We provide various levels of support to make the transition from a high school diploma or GED to postsecondary education a little smoother," says Mario McMichael, director of the partnership's Economic Opportunities Program (Ashford, Community College Daily, 5/12).

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