Betting on niche programs
Programs like nursing, welding, computer science and communications are found at many if not most community colleges. And then there are degree and certificate offerings like cannabis cultivation, slot machine repair and gunsmithing technology that aren’t exactly a dime a dozen — and yet they are an important part of both their respective academic catalogs and local employers’ recruiting pipelines.
Planning these programs requires a careful analysis at the outset to ensure that enough sustainable jobs exist to make them worthwhile for students. Administrators and faculty need to decide whether to start small or dive in all at once and develop a full program. They need to strategize how to market programs and recruit students. And they need to continue to analyze workforce trends to ensure programs stay current — and to plan for the future.