Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2014

Workforce Development and Community Colleges Reform

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Governor Patrick    FY 2014 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


The public higher education system in Massachusetts is a critical asset and contributor to the Commonwealth’s Innovation Economy, and the 15 community colleges are an essential component of a vibrant postsecondary educational and workforce development system.  Therefore, the Patrick-Murray Administration is maintaining its strong commitment to these campuses, by providing significant new investments in community colleges in the FY 2014 budget.  The Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges provide a wide variety of affordable and highly effective educational and career programs to prepare students of all ages for both the job market and future academic study.

Our community colleges currently serve as the linchpin of three central goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration:

1.   Creating a 21st century workforce that is responsive to local and statewide economic needs;

2.   Reducing unemployment across the state; and

3.   Closing the achievement gap.

Workforce Development

The Patrick-Murray Administration will continue its efforts to reform the community college system by increasing accountability and strengthening collaboration to improve both academic and workforce training outcomes. The Department of Higher Education (DHE) and the community colleges have worked to collaborate both internally with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), as well as externally with local employers, to ensure that workforce initiatives at the campuses meet the needs the students and the local economy. The FY 2014 budget includes new investments of $2.3 M that will build on the following elements of the FY 2013 budget, including:

  • New scholarship funding for in-demand careers;
  • Rapid Response Grants which give our community colleges and potential employers the opportunity to develop career-specific curricula based on the needs of these employers; and
  • The Community College Workforce Grant Advisory Committee to promote the development of workforce training programs and partnerships with Commonwealth businesses and industry, other educational and training institutions, labor organizations, and other organizations supporting workforce development.

The FY 2014 budget will continue to advance these efforts through an investment of $6.1 M, including $2.3 M in new funding at DHE that consolidates the FY 2013 initiatives of in-demand scholarships, Rapid Response Grants and the Community College Workforce Grant Advisory committee. This consolidation of funding will allow DHE greater flexibility in meeting the workforce development needs of the community colleges, and the students and employers served by the community colleges.

Investing in Community Colleges

The opportunity, value, and life advancement offered by the community colleges has been recognized by the residents of Massachusetts, as full-time equivalent enrollment increased 32 percent from 2006 to 2011.  The Administration will invest an additional $20 M in new funding for Community Colleges, or 9 percent more than FY 2013 funding levels. This new investment will be allocated to the campuses through a new formula that serves to accomplish the goals established by the Administration and ensure that all campuses will receive at least the same levels of funding as in FY 2013.

Title: Enrollment Increase at the MA Community Colleges - Description: Enrollment at Massachusetts Community Colleges has increased from below 50,000 students in 2006 to 65,000 students in 2011.

The Commissioner of Higher Education was charged with recommending a new formula for allocating state-appropriated dollars to the community colleges that would successfully address the following factors:

  • Large inequities in per-student funding that have arisen as the result of substantial increases in enrollment and changing student populations;
  • The importance of linking state appropriations to institutional performance with respect to statewide goals and priorities identified in the Vision Project that was approved by the Board of Higher Education, including increasing graduation and success rates, closing achievement and attainment gaps, and advancing the Commonwealth’s workforce development goals; and
  • The need to strengthen the role of the community colleges in preparing students for jobs in the state’s rapidly evolving innovation economy.

The new formula was developed in consultation with the presidents of the community colleges, the leadership of the Massachusetts Community College Council, Massachusetts Teachers Association, and the Secretaries of the Executive Office of Education (EOE), EOLWD, and EOHED. The new formula includes the following elements:

  • Components that better reflect the enrollment of each college and credits completed to address inequity while protecting small institutions;
  • Components that reward institutional performance with respect to critical statewide goals, especially degree and certificate completion;
  • Components linking funding levels to performance in the area of workforce development, including producing students with degrees or certificates in fields of high employer need and providing non-credit training opportunities that serve the needs of both workers and employers;
  • Components linking funding levels to successful efforts to close achievement gaps associated with lower-income students and students of color; and
  • An implementation plan that avoids significant reductions in the budget of any individual community college in the first year and protects colleges from excessive budget reductions as the formula takes effect.

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
For more information email: (617) 727-2040

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