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Sophie McGuinness

Sophie McGuinness.

Short-term certificate (STC) programs at community colleges represent a longstanding policy priority to align accelerated postsecondary credentials with job opportunities in local labor markets. Despite large investments in developing STCs, little evidence exists about where and when STCs are opened, and whether community colleges open new programs of study in coordination with labor market trends. Using public workforce and postsecondary data, I examine health and manufacturing STC program openings to understand the conditions in which STCs are launched and whether the timing of program openings correspond with labor market activity in related industries. I find that STCs are spatially aligned across labor markets within a state, but not necessarily temporally aligned with county-specific trends. One additional STC per college is associated with labor markets that had 2-3% more employment and 4-6% greater share of employment in related industry.

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