The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program has ranked Cochise College as one of the nation’s 150 best community colleges. In order to identify the nation’s best community colleges and award $1 million in prize money, Cochise College and 149 other community colleges will compete for the prize funds (to be announced in fall 2016) by insisting on high standards for learning, college completion without delay, and serving as a training ground for jobs that pay competitive wages. A full list of the selected colleges and details on the selection process are available at www.aspenprize.org.
Mentioning the urgent need to focus on the value and potential of community colleges, Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Executive Director Josh Wyner said, “Community colleges have tremendous power to change lives, and their success will increasingly define our nation’s economic strength and the potential for social mobility in our country.”
Nearly half of America’s college students attend community college, with more than seven million students – youth and adult learners – working towards certificates and degrees across the country.
The prize, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges and recognizes institutions for exceptional student outcomes in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and access and success for minority and low-income students.
Cochise College is now eligible to submit an application containing detailed data on these criteria. It must demonstrate that it delivers exceptional student results, uses data to drive decisions, and uses that information to continually improve over time.
Cochise College and 149 other community colleges will be winnowed to eight to 10 finalists in the fall based on how much students learn, how many complete their programs on time, and how well students do in the job market after graduating.
Aspen will conduct site visits to each of the 10 finalists in the fall. Based on the evidence, the prize jury will select a grand prize winner and two to three runners-up, to be announced this year and prizes distributed in early 2017.
Cochise was also nominated for The Aspen Prize in 2011.
For the first time, Cochise College and other contenders are also invited to nominate exceptional students enrolled in STEM programs for scholarships. Up to 50 Siemens Technical Scholars will be selected from programs that provide outstanding preparation for high-demand jobs in manufacturing, energy, health care, and information technology.
A partnership between the Siemens Foundation and the Aspen Institute, the Siemens Technical Scholars Program intends to help our nation’s community colleges and their business partners bridge the gap between projected shortages of skilled workers and the millions of high-demand jobs in these STEM industries.
Scholarship winners and the programs that deliver rigorous training enabling their success will be announced in fall 2016. For more information and to view video profiles of 2015 Siemens Technical Scholars, go to: http://as.pn/stscholars.