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Leveraging Community Colleges
for Homeland Security

In response to the events of September 11, 2001, the League for Innovation in the Community College began work on a national Homeland Security Initiative (e.g., our That is the Terror and Courageous Responses articles noting the role of community colleges in connection and training). The League is exceptionally qualified and positioned to showcase the efforts of community colleges in Homeland Security training and create strategies that facilitate sharing of Homeland Security programs best practices at community colleges.

With 1,100 American community and technical colleges serving more than 10 million students annually, there is little doubt that community colleges are making a difference for individuals and industry. Nearly two-thirds of the nation's first-year freshmen start at community colleges; 60 percent of low-income freshman begin their undergraduate careers at community colleges. Community and technical colleges' complex mission generally includes providing community-based learning focused on (1) institutional certificates, diplomas, and degrees that often lead to transfer to other institutions of higher education; (2) industry-driven certification and local workforce training; and (3) adult basic education and GED.

Even more important is the fact that community colleges are arguably the lynchpin and often unheralded training organization in Homeland Security related fields. The fields of law enforcement and public safety; health care; information technology (including cyber security); biotechnology; hazardous materials; and community service all leverage community colleges. From Monroe Community College's (NY) public safety training center, which includes a 747 burn simulation training facility, to Miami-Dade College's (FL) Cyber Security program to Kirkwood Community College's (IA) hazardous materials and mass fatalities training center, to the Maricopa Community Colleges' (AZ) Center for Civic Engagement, the reach and scope of the American Community College training capacity is stunning - yet it is untapped in a focused way by the national initiatives in Homeland Security.

With this in mind, the League has undertaken a number of activities to catalyze the role of community colleges in Homeland Security. Click on the links below to learn more about our work.

Vision/Purpose of Homeland Security Initiative

The Initiative Overview

Additional Resources, Articles, and Links