As many as 90 million U.S. adults lack the key skills in reading, writing and math to qualify for well-paying jobs, Forbes reports. In addition they may lack personal and social skills sought by employers in today’s labor market.  They are trapped in low-paid, dead-end jobs or worse, in unemployment.

Education is the most powerful arrow in the poverty-fighter’s quiver. Individuals who earn an associate degree earn, on average, about $10,000 more per year than will college dropouts.

Community colleges enroll more than one-third of all post-secondary students in the United States, providing access to higher education for over seven million students each year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Because these institutions charge considerably less in tuition and fees than four-year public and private colleges, community colleges attract a significant number of students from low-income households. Yet many community college students, particularly those from low- and moderate-income families, don’t complete their degrees.

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