ECC President David Sam: Community colleges can best train the new generation of skilled workers

  • Tags: Academics
Published 09/27/2018
Dr. David Sam portrait

Dr. David Sam portrait

I recently read The Economics Daily report which highlighted the number of jobs available compared to the number of job seekers in the United States. At the end of July 2018, there were 6.9 million job vacancies. Experts have expressed concern that there are not enough workers to fill these vacancies due to a growing skills gap.

As baby boomers retire in large numbers and technology continues to change the way we now work, there will be a shortage of workers with relevant skills to help fill this need. And this is where community colleges best fulfill their missions.

At Elgin Community College, we remain committed to training the new generations of workers through internships, apprenticeships, and new degree and certificate programs in response to current workforce demands.

I always remind students that it is not enough to get started; you must complete [your degree] to compete. You may be wondering about the value of an ECC degree. You may even be asking yourself if it is worth it to go back to school. Let me answer your question with data from the most recent economic impact study for ECC’s district. The study found:

  • A 37% increase in earnings for ECC graduates over those who have not completed a degree.
  • A 42% increase in lifetime earnings for an ECC graduate versus what one might expect to earn having not completed a degree at a community college.
  • An increase in earnings for those already employed through skills-based programs.

Did you know that community college graduates generate millions of dollars in local, state and federal tax revenue that contributes to the local economy?

ECC has over 43,000 alumni, many of whom serve our district as nurses, chefs, teachers, lawyers, business men and women, fire and police chiefs, and more.

At ECC, our mission is to improve people’s lives through learning. And this mission includes the communities we serve and you. If you started your degree or certificate at ECC and you did not finish due to life circumstances, I invite you to come back and let us help you cross the finish line. Once you get there, data shows that there is a future career with your name on it.

David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, President, Elgin Community College