Speed puts community colleges front and center

Obama hopes the agility of community colleges will accelerate a manufacturing rebound.

Fitzpatrick Manufacturing Co. is a high-tech job shop, crafting super-precise parts for machines used in everything from robotics to aerospace to oil exploration. Macomb Community College lies a few miles down the road in this Detroit suburb.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Fitzpatrick’s 93 employees are constantly in and out of Macomb, taking classes with a tuition reimbursement from the company. And so frequently are Macomb instructors at Fitzpatrick’s plant to offer lessons on the esoteric technology used there that the company built a classroom, now lined with about 250 diplomas and certificates employees have earned.…Read More

Two years after Obama’s college initiative, major obstacles remain

Obama's 2020 goal could already be well out of reach, experts warn.

Estranged from his family at age 17, Jake Boyd put himself through Macomb Community College in suburban Detroit by working nearly 100 hours a week: 12 hours a day, six days a week, at a car wash, followed by four-hour shifts as a security guard at an apartment complex.

It took Boyd almost five years to earn his associate degree in law enforcement from Macomb, the campus where President Barack Obama announced his American Graduation Initiative in 2009, setting a goal of restoring the country to first place by 2020 in the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees.

Many students like Boyd just give up.…Read More