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June 22, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Florida Community Colleges Celebrate 50 Years With a Look at their Past, Present and Future

TALLAHASSEE – This month, Florida’s Community College System celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since 1957, the Community College System has been providing Floridians increased access to postsecondary education and workforce training opportunities. A celebration commemorating this impressive milestone was held earlier this month and attended by Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, an Edison Community College alumnus, among others.

"Governor Crist and I congratulate Florida's Community College System on 50 years of excellence in education," said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. "As a graduate of one of Florida's outstanding community colleges, I experienced firsthand the world-class academic programs that support and strengthen Florida's economic growth and development by expanding access to higher education, preparing students to enter the state university system and providing workforce education programs to meet the evolving needs of local communities."

During the past 50 years, Florida’s Community College System has made a number of notable accomplishments. Some highlights of these accomplishments include:

  • Increased access to postsecondary education, in particular for underserved populations.
  • Continued expansion of four-year degree programs and workforce education opportunities.
  • Development of on-campus partnerships with traditional four-year colleges and universities.
  • Creation of partnerships with major business organizations.
  • Development of bachelor’s degrees targeted to high-demand, critical-shortage areas in Florida’s workforce.

“Florida’s community colleges are proud to be the major point of entry to higher education in the state for over 800,000 students each year,” said Community Colleges Chancellor David Armstrong. “Thanks to the support of our state’s leaders and the Legislature, record funding increases (more than 41 percent) over the past 10 years are providing increased access, and a passport to the American Dream for students who need to get a high-quality, affordable education- close to home.”

Making postsecondary opportunities even more accessible for those pursuing higher education is an important goal for community colleges. Florida’s Community College System will continue its focus on this goal by:

  • Increasing first-rate technology and distance learning options. Florida’s community colleges currently offer nearly 14,000 distance learning courses and this number will continue to grow.
  • Increasing access to higher education, particularly for underserved populations via special partnerships and specific workforce-oriented baccalaureate degrees.
  • Continuing their commitment to affordability and vigorously pursuing increased access to financial aid.
  • Renewing their commitment to student retention, success and completion via surveys and other data collection means.
  • Growth in facilities, classrooms, and labs to meet capacity demands and requirements of new technology.

Another important goal for the future of community colleges is the continued emphasis on high-quality, relevant educational opportunities for students in both university transfer and career/technical programs. This will be accomplished by:

  • Moving to more competency-based learning with identification of specific student learning outcomes for all majors.
  • Improving “seamlessness” and collaboration with the K-12 public education system to ensure improved college-readiness, a decreased need for remediation, and greater postsecondary enrollments.
  • Simplifying the transition process for K-12 and technical centers to community colleges to universities.
  • Increasing efforts to better align learning opportunities and programs with the economic and operational needs of local and state business and industry.

For more information regarding Florida’s Community College System please visit