Community Colleges as Engines of Opportunity

Exploring the Impact of the TAACCCT Program

This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Read more about our 20th anniversary.

Automation and the next recession will mean workers need to reskill quickly to connect to jobs and support innovation in the economy. Preparing for the future of work means creating systems that help people connect to new training and education opportunities throughout their lives. Government investments in our education and training infrastructure can support this resilience but we need more information about what works.

Over the past year and a half, New America and Bragg & Associates have partnered on a research agenda exploring what colleges learned through their Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to support adult learners. As our research concludes, we will publish a set of four briefs based on our review of over 220 final evaluations of grants, a meta-analysis of outcomes, and interviews with a range of stakeholders. Our aim is to bring to light the impact of TAACCCT and highlight what colleges learned through their grants to support adult learners earning a first credential and transitioning back into the labor market.

On October 7, New America will host a public event in conjunction with the publication of our research findings. The event will consist of short presentations on our team's findings from the meta-analysis of TAACCCT’s impact on student completion and employment outcomes and analyses of common student support strategies. Through two presentations of research and two panels with leaders in the field, focused on policy implications and institutional perspectives, the event will highlight the insight of policymakers and practitioners about the value of such an expansive investment in community colleges and how future federal and state investments in the sector could best support students and institutions.

Follow the conversation online using #investinCCs and following @NewAmericaEd.


Welcome Remarks

Mary Alice McCarthy
, @mccarthyedwork
Director, Center on Education & Skills at New America

Wendy Sedlak
Strategy Director for Research and Data, Lumina Foundation

Presentation of Meta-Analysis Findings and Implications

Debra Bragg,
President, Bragg & Associates

Policy Panel: Investing in Community Colleges for the Future of Work


Martha Kanter
, @marthakanter
Executive Director, College Promise Campaign


Jee Hang Lee, @jhwl
Vice President for Public Policy and External Relations, Association of Community College Trustees

Sue Liu
Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Department of Education and US Department of Labor

Zora Mulligan, @zzmulligan
Commissioner of Higher Education, Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Casey Sacks, @SacksCasey (Invited)
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges, US Department of Education

Presentation of Research on Key TAACCCT Interventions

College Leaders Panel: Empowering Institutions to Transform Communities


Karen Stout
, @drkastout
President and CEO, Achieving the Dream


Eric Heiser, @EricHeiser
Dean of School of Applied Technology & Technical Specialties, Salt Lake Community College

Annette Parker, @prezaparker
President, South Central College

Terri Burgess Sandu
Director, Talent and Business Innovation & Lorain County Community College