This issue brief summarizes the economic conditions in rural communities since the Great Recession and highlights the educational attainment of rural men. It then describes the barriers to attending college that rural men face and these promising efforts that Hinds Community College and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) have undertaken to help men gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete in the modern workforce:
- Both institutions use scholarships to encourage students to enroll and complete their studies. Simply getting students on campus can have a tremendous impact on their long-term success.
- Both institutions recognize that students need guidance and assistance once enrolled. such as with mentors, apprenticeship programs, and wrap-around services to support basic needs.
- Both institutions have crafted programs with the goal of finding students jobs in high-demand fields in their home state.
LCTCS and Hinds exemplify the work that rural community colleges are and should be doing to assist this important population and serve as an important model for other rural institutions.
The U.S. economy continues to recover from the Great Recession in important ways; notably, the national unemployment rate has decreased from a high of 10 percent in late 2009 to 4 percent as of July 2018. However, a closer look reveals that most rural communities have not fully recovered. Lagging educational attainment—particularly among men—is a significant impediment to prosperity in rural communities. Community colleges are key players in reversing this trend but must help their male students overcome significant logistical, academic, and personal hurdles.