Master Plan 2015 - 2020
Fulfilling the Vision
The Community and Technical College System of West Virginia will be a globally and nationally competitive system that is the ‘first choice’ for workforce development and provides affordable access to postsecondary education. The Community and Technical College System will be an entrepreneurial, comprehensive community and technical college system comprised of responsive, collaborative, and innovative colleges with the flexibility to meet the education and training needs of West Virginia’s students and employers. The System will commit to:
- Being futuristic, strategic, and innovative in its planning and program delivery;
- Providing proactive and responsive services to business and industry;
- Increasing the educational attainment of West Virginia’s citizens and providing life‐long learning opportunities that are accessible and customer driven;
- Delivering programs anywhere, anyplace, anytime, by any means or device;
- Celebrating and promoting diversity;
- Utilizing cutting edge technology; and
- Delivering relevant, rigorous and modularized curriculum
The mission of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System is to promote and provide high‐quality, accessible, and responsive education and training opportunities that maximize student learning, improve the standard of living for West Virginians, and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of our state. The Community and Technical College System will: Be a comprehensive community and technical college system that offers developmental education, career and technical education, workforce and continuing education and transfer education;
- Be the economic stimulus for business and industry to remain in or relocate to the state because of the education and training with which it equips its citizens to compete in the global economy;
- Produce a world‐class workforce by being the primary provider of adult workforce and technical training; and
- Strategically partner with economic, workforce and community development, K‐12 and the universities to meet the workforce development needs of citizens and businesses.
As the implementation period for the current Community and Technical College System Master Plan – Meeting the Challenge 2010 ‐ 2015 comes to a close, West Virginia, along with the entire nation, continues to face a challenging future in terms of economic opportunity. Although America has slowly emerged from the recession of 2007, still not enough Americans are completing college to meet the projected job demands into the year 2020.
The West Virginia Community and Technical College System is now charged with responsibility for developing a new five‐year master plan that is aligned with the goals and objectives outlined in State Code (§18B‐1D‐3) and commonly cited as Vision 2020: An Education Blueprint for Two Thousand Twenty. The State Legislature’s Vision 2020 emphasizes the vital role that post‐secondary education plays in securing the economic future of West Virginia. For the State to realize its considerable potential in the 21st Century, higher education must be:
- Competitive in the changing national and global economy
- Accessible and affordable for all citizens, and
- Have the capacity to deliver the programs and services necessary to meet regional and statewide needs.
Specific goals outlined in Vision 2020 charge community and technical colleges with enhancing state efforts to diversify and expand the economy by focusing available resources on programs which best serve students, provide the greatest opportunity for job creation and retention, and are supportive of emerging high‐technology and knowledge‐ based businesses and industries.
Goals for the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia Master Plan 2015 - 2020
Goal 1: Student Success
Student success continues to be a primary focus of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System institutions. Students enter community and technical colleges for a variety of reasons and with a variety of goals. For some, the goal is to pursue a particular career field and earn a credential in the form of a skill set certificate, a certificate degree or an associate degree. For others, their intent is to complete some college credit and then transfer to a four‐year institution to complete a degree. However, in many cases, students enroll in a community and technical college without any clear educational goal.
Student success research indicates that students who complete at least one full year of education and earn a credential are far more likely to succeed economically. It is also evident from the research that students who are required to spend several semesters in developmental education without earning college credit are highly unlikely to attain a credential. According to 2013 data from Complete College America, 69.8 percent of freshmen entering community colleges in West Virginia require remediation. Of all students, only 10.4 percent of them graduate with a credential within 3 years. Efforts by the nine community and technical colleges in West Virginia to assist students in successfully completing college‐level mathematics and English courses in their first year and increasing the number who go on to complete a college credential are having a positive impact. It is essential that this progress continue with even greater emphasis and support over the next five years.
Goal 2: Workforce
Since the creation of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System in 2004, its member institutions have made dramatic strides in meeting the immediate workforce needs of employers. These efforts are clearly evident in the data collected each year and reported through the Workforce Development Reporting Matrix. Over the four year period of 2010‐ 2014, these institutions have delivered approximately 3.5 million contact hours of training; awarded 12,460 career‐technical certificate and associate degrees along with an additional 38,313 career‐technical skill set certificates; and served over 500 employers annually.
As impressive as these numbers are, businesses still cannot find enough employees with the right knowledge, skills and training to fill critical jobs. The December 2014 Report Closing America’s Skills Gap‐a Business Roundtable Vision and Action Plan, states that “a new vision – along with concerted action – to close the skills gap, enhance education and training opportunities for America’s workers, and return our economy to its full promise” is required. Cited as one of the major contributors to the “skills gap” problem is that workers with good fundamental skills “lack the specialized training needed to fill certain high demand occupations such as advanced welders or energy services technicians.”
Due to the growing skills gap in our own state, it is essential that the institutions of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System understand the job needs in each service district and focus efforts on helping students acquire the skills required to fill those jobs. To do so, the System must continue to strengthen its capacity to develop a competitive workforce that meets the needs of current and future West Virginia businesses.
Goal 3: Access
Completion of college credentials is not possible for any student unless he or she is able, both financially and geographically, to access the requisite college programs and services to be successful. Although completion of college credentials by more students remains a primary focus, community and technical colleges must continue to provide open access to education and training opportunities and ensure these opportunities are affordable to all. Unfortunately, many West Virginians, particularly adults, encounter a number of barriers that hinder them from accessing post‐secondary education.
According to the Lumina Foundation, the most common barriers are unmet financial need, inadequate academic preparation, and insufficient information, guidance and encouragement. It is the continuing goal of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System to ensure both economic and geographic access for all students.
Goal 4: Resources
To produce more graduates with the general education and workplace skills required for the jobs of the 21st Century economy, and to assist in creating opportunities for economic growth in the state, West Virginia’s community and technical colleges must develop strategies that garner additional financial support from both public and private sources. However, it is just as essential that the institutions of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System strive to operate more efficiently and make better use of existing resources during these uncertain economic times. If students are to be served more effectively, resulting in more students completing college credentials, both additional resources and more efficient operations will be required.
- Strategic Priority No. 1 Produce More Graduates
- Strategic Priority No. 2 Promote Strong Employer Partnerships
- Strategic Priority No. 3 Serve More Adults
- Strategic Priority No. 4 Resource Development
Strategic Priority No. 1 Produce More Graduates: West Virginia’s ten community and technical colleges plan to produce 16,000 new certificate and associate degree holders by 2016. To meet the graduation challenge, West Virginia’s community and technical colleges will:
- Make student graduation the System’s top priority
- Improve results for the 63% of students who take developmental education through its Integrated Pathways to Adult Student Success initiative
- Support effective student retention and graduation strategies
- Attract students with some college but no degree back to college to complete degree requirements
- Initiate innovative programming to reduce the time to degree completion
Strategic Priority No. 2 Promote Strong Employer Partnerships: To meet the workforce and economic development challenge, West Virginia’s community and technical colleges will strive to develop and strengthen regional industry sector partnerships over the next five years by:
- Developing regional industry sector-based partnerships with employers
- Developing sector-based workforce strategies to closely align college curriculum to the skill requirements of employers
- Targeting funding to the development of programs that meet documented workforce needs
Strategic Priority No. 3 Serve More Adults: West Virginia ranks 49th nationally in terms of adults age 25 to 34 with either an associate or bachelor’s degree. To meet the adult student challenge, West Virginia’s community and technical colleges will:
- Recruit, retain, and graduate more adult students
- Implement system-wide best recruitment, retention, and graduation practices for adult learners
- Offer additional accelerated academic programs, increased online course offerings, and develop modularized curricula
Strategic Priority No. 4 Resource Development: All institutions need additional facilities and resources in which to offer instruction and provide academic and student support services. To meet this challenge, the System will:
- Build and renovate necessary instructional facilities across the state
- Generate external funding to compliment state general revenue
- Seek $120 million over the next five years for a second phase of construction and renovation projects to address emerging programmatic needs in allied health and other technical areas.