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A Perfect Storm? President Obama, the Great Recession, and Community Colleges

The Obama Administration and Educational Reform

ISBN: 978-1-78350-709-2

Publication date: 1 December 2014



President Obama positions community colleges as a linchpin of federal policy on education and training for citizens adversely affected by the recession. Chief among recommended reforms is the notion of career pathways that enable students, especially non-traditional age adults, to participate in postsecondary education directed at employment.


This paper reviews the literature on career pathway reforms to describe these programs and the students who enroll in them. It also presents evidence from two third-party evaluations of federal grants supporting career pathway implementation.


Results suggest career pathway programs are spreading throughout the United States through unprecedented levels of federal funding. Adult learners are a primary target group, but more data are needed to determine on a deeper level who these students are and whether they are being well served.


This paper offers new information to help readers consider whether President Obama’s agenda will achieve its goals and positively impact college completion and economic recovery.



Bragg, D.D. (2014), "A Perfect Storm? President Obama, the Great Recession, and Community Colleges", The Obama Administration and Educational Reform (Advances in Education in Diverse Communities, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 93-118.



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