A letter to Congress signed by 20 leading higher education thinkers – including a dozen community college presidents, chancellors and vice chancellors – urges lawmakers working to make community college free for all Americans not to forget learners seeking job-focused education. 

As the nation emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic and millions of Americans seek new skills to adjust to a changing labor market, many will turn to a community college for fast, job-centered upskilling and reskilling. But as a practical matter, learners enrolled in short skills-focused programs are ineligible for federal Pell Grants – and most plans for free community college would also bypass them.

The letter urges lawmakers to support noncredit workforce programs shorter than a semester and proposes a framework to ensure that dollars go only to high-quality programs. 

Read the letter


Kenneth Adams, president, LaGuardia Community College
Michael Bettersworth, vice chancellor for innovation, Texas State Technical College
Earl Buford, president, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
Ryan Craig, managing director, Achieve Partners
Aaron Fichtner, president, New Jersey Council of County Colleges
Joseph Fuller, professor of management practice, Harvard Business School
Tracy Hartzler, president, Central New Mexico Community College
Tamar Jacoby, president, Opportunity America
Kemi Jona, assistant vice chancellor for digital innovation and enterprise learning, Northeastern University
Anne Kress, president, Northern Virginia Community College
Lee Lambert, chancellor, Pima Community College
Chauncy Lennon, vice president for learning and work, Lumina Foundation
Joe May
, chancellor, Dallas College
Shouan Pan, chancellor, Seattle Colleges
Annette Parker, president, South Central College
Bill Pink, president, Grand Rapids Community College
Scott Ralls, president, Wake Tech Community College
Michael L. Reeser, chancellor, Texas State Technical College
Matt Sigelman, CEO, Emsi Burning Glass
Monty Sullivan, president, Louisiana Community and Technical College System