Earning to Learn: How America’s Work Colleges are Bridging Equity Gaps and Connecting Education to Employment

By Jocelyn Pickford -

At a time when the value of a liberal arts education is being questioned more than ever, America’s work colleges—liberal arts schools that explicitly prepare students for employment after graduation—offer a compelling response. Work colleges also offer pathways for traditionally underserved populations through higher education, which has positive implications for educational equity. Paul Quinn College is one of the newest federally designated work colleges and the first to adopt the urban work college model, and it is now seeking ways to expand this model to other urban environments. While traditional liberal arts institutions may not wish or be able to adopt the full work college model, several lessons from these schools can help instruct other colleges looking for ways to better align education with work.

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