Partnerships as a major strategy for community college improvement: a case study of a community college program

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Aguilar, Hector

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This case study’s purpose was to provide other college administrators and faculty members, who are especially involved in community college workforce programs, an example of a program that partnered with many entities, including multiple business entities, and became one of the best in the country, in its particular field. The study alluded to the difficult realities that many high-technology community college two-year programs are experiencing in trying to offer updated and relevant programs in areas that are constantly changing and where facilities, equipment, and other requirements may be prohibitively expensive to implement. The study focused on a workforce program, the Austin Community College Semiconductor Manufacturing Program, and the benefits that it attained by partnering. The study utilized a qualitative research approach to acquire data to answer three main questions. The first question addressed who the program partnered with, what were the benefits and the challenges, and who and when did what to create structures that then enabled successful implementation of various initiatives? The second question was to find what are essential success factors that are required to make any workforce program more successful, which partners had what effect on these factors, and how did the program rate relative to those same factors (according to the different partners)? The third question addressed what the program did to adapt to a different environment, and how did the department utilize partnerships to implement new strategies.