Celebrate Community College Month with MCC
By Madison Schick
The value of a college degree or workforce certificate has become nearly indisputable; its critical function within the national and local economy is further secured by the role of college degrees in society.
College degrees enable graduates to achieve a status that may allude others, and this points to an innate worth in higher education. McLennan Community College recognizes Community College Month and its goals throughout the month of April to advocate and support community colleges and their current and prospective students nationwide. MCC invites all to join in the celebration of equitable education in Waco.
In 2016 nearly one-third of community college attendees were first-generation college students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The American Association of Community Colleges reports for the same year, “two out of every three students at community colleges work[ed] while enrolled, with 20.6% of mostly full-time students working full-time jobs.”
In addition to demographic diversity, community colleges serve various populations of students, each with differing goals. MCC serves well over 1,000 high school students each year through Dual Credit courses – permitting students to receive college credit while keeping their academic and career goals forefront. Half of McLennan County high school valedictorians and salutatorians in 2020 graduated with an associate’s degree from MCC.
A recent Inside Higher Ed article examined results from a survey produced by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Over half of people earning bachelor’s degrees between 2008 and 2017 were previously enrolled at a community college, and one-quarter had received an associate’s degree prior to their bachelor’s degree.
Community colleges will continue to differ from four-year schools, partly due to the goals of the students they serve. Community colleges surpass the ability of four-year schools in supplying the local and national workforce with well-educated, certified, and trained workers. They do this in a shorter time frame while accommodating students’ availability for attending classes.
Community colleges use their multipurpose role within the economy, society, and higher education to meet the needs of students with diverse goals and backgrounds.
“You can go anywhere from here,” said MCC President Johnette McKown. “If you want to eventually graduate from Baylor, Texas Tech, Tarleton, Texas A&M, or anywhere, start here. If you want to be a health professional, first responder, or professional in any other field, start here.”
Madison Schick is social media and communications specialist at McLennan Community
College. A literature enthusiast and graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Madison studied environmental science, English, and history, and still loves all things related to reading and writing.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].
I believe it is a true accomplishment to earn a college degree! Some students prefer hands-on learning, and many that are collegiate learners. It is great that Waco has colleges that provide both types of learning. McLennan Community College has improved tremendously since I earned my degree. I am so proud it is my alma mater.