Predicting the Future

Commentary by Jerry Sain, Director, CVCC Writing Center

Crystal Ball

Many people never take time to consider the way in which they will achieve a successful future, much less how they will create the person they will become. Most people will agree that nobody can accurately predict the future. Where the new opportunities for earnings over the next decade will emerge is anyone’s guess. Taking the optimistic approach that you can meet the challenges of the future and make a worthwhile contribution as well as the realistic approach that you are unaware of your full potential is important in a changing world of work.

Learning is one clear avenue for creating the change people desire. Living in an uncertain world offers challenges of its own. Failing to recognize one’s personal potential for growth is another example of critical uncertainty. Creating the change that invites possibilities for opportunity in life suggests that individuals explore interests, meet new people, develop new hobbies, and demonstrate that they can make a contribution to a group of their choice.

At the beginning of each New Year, Claudio Sanchez, an education correspondent for National Public Radio, releases his annual predictions for changes in education. In 2017, Sanchez anticipates changes that pose potential opportunities for growth. His prediction is related to community colleges and economic growth. This analyst considers how two-year higher education programs will receive additional attention promoting training and development for a better educated workforce.

According to College Board Research, these two-year institutions enroll more than half of all students who go on to some kind of postsecondary education. The National Center for Education Statistics has determined that 10.1 million undergraduates were enrolled in public two-two colleges based on year-round enrollment from 2012-2013. (Community College FAQs) To put this number in perspective, 10.1 million is a mere 1.7 million more people that the population of New York City at 8.4 million. The American Association of Community Colleges confirms this number by reported approximately 10.1 million undergraduates were enrolled in public two-year colleges. This represents a wealth of inspired individuals seeking to improve their career options.

In fall semester of 2014, College Board Research reports that “42% of all undergraduate students and 25% of all full-time undergraduate students were enrolled in community colleges.”

A National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) analysis reveals that nearly half (46%) of all students who completed a degree at a four-year institution in 2013-2014 had enrolled at a two-year institution at some point in the previous 10 years. The report notes that nearly half of the graduates (47%) had enrolled in a two-year institution for “five or more terms.” Stating the considerable value that the community college contributes to our country’s intellectual and academic reservoir is obviously important.

Sanchez notes what he calls “the mission of community colleges — to educate and retrain